How Having Gratitude Will Change Your Life (for the better)


One of the things that continually astounds me is just how much I have to be grateful for. Another thing that continually astounds me is how often I forget how much I have to be grateful for.

Yep, I tend to complain, moan and feel like everything and everyone is working against me. I mostly keep this secretly to myself, but if you ask some of my friends and co-workers, they’d probably tell you it’s not always so secret.

I’m trying to get better though. Not at complaining, but at being grateful for what I have. There are lots of very good reasons for this.

Gratitude keeps our hearts humble, it helps us to see everything as a gift from God and helps us to focus our lives on others – versus always thinking of ourselves.

Letting gratitude extend to all things, even when things are less than pleasant and difficult is something that’s not easy, but it’s important. And the odd thing is, being happy shouldn’t translate into being grateful.

Instead being grateful can help us to be happy.

Take me for example. Looking in from the outside, I seemingly have a lot to complain about, or find pity in my situation.

Last year my mother lost the ability to walk, or even care for herself. She lives with me and I am taking care of her, so that she doesn’t have to go into a nursing home…moan, moan, complain, complain.

With some truly good friends, we are able to take care of her. But it’s really hard work. She is completely dependent on me for everything and its very tiring…moan, moan, complain, complain.

And, unfortunately, because I take care of her, I have had to give up most of my free time. I haven’t gone on a vacation in over a year, and beyond leaving my home to go to work, keeping a job at 30 hours a week max, I am only able to leave my home for a couple hours at a time. I haven’t seen a movie in forever and when friends ask me to do things in the evenings and weekends, I mostly have to say no…moan, moan, complain, complain.

Wait a second. Because of my sacrifice, my mother is able to stay out of a nursing home, which costs thousands of dollars a month, and is basically a place to be fed non-stop pills, placed in front of a television as a babysitter, and wait for nurses to move you, so you don’t end up with bed sores. Hmm, that is something to be grateful for.

Wait another second. Because I am helping my mother, I am sacrificing my time and learning to be charitable, with far less focus on me. Growing in charity? Well, that’s certainly something to be grateful for.

Hold on, wait yet another second. By doing this for my mother, I am honoring and glorifying God. Plus I really doubt that God is in heaven thinking, “Oh, just put the old lady in a nursing home, jump in your car and head for the beach.”

So, with this I start to realize that I owe this sacrifice to God, and I can’t think of a thing to be complaining about. It’s still darn hard and some days I want to pull out what hair I have left, but hey, I have a lot to be grateful for.

God has provided me with a home in which to house not just my mother, but myself, and my friends who are helping me.

God has provided me with the strength to help my mother.

God has provided me with the patience to help my mother.

God has provided me with the love to help my mother.

If I began to count the things that I owe to God, I would never finish counting, because each added moment of life is another gift.

The best gratitude, which I can offer Him, is to use His gifts properly. Instead of an occasional, “Thank You”, I ought to shout it with every breath.

Do I still complain? You bet I do – but I’m trying to stop. And I’m praying every day that God grants me the wisdom of daily gratitude, so that I may one day receive from Him the greatest gift of all – the happiness and joy of Heaven.

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