Spiritual Life

I'm Just Saying ... : Interactive gratitude – acknowledging the gift and the giver

It is amazing how we can change in only one day. On Thanksgiving Day, we count our blessings, and the very next day – Black Friday – a national “consumption” day, we revert to “give me more.”

There’s nothing wrong with liking your stuff, but always wanting more is living the lie that it will make you happy long term. We jump from one short-term rush to the next, with no end in sight. It’s the “getting” and not the actual “having” that produces the endorphins.

I suggest that practicing gratitude for more than one national holiday might make us all happier – more grateful for what we already have and more aware of recognizing the “getting” for the lie that it is.

The best kind of gratitude is the interactive kind, where you say, “thank you” and someone says, “you’re welcome” back. As Christians, we know who to thank, but often we don’t listen for the reply from our Father who loves us. He wants to acknowledge your gratitude, but experiencing that is a process.

Interactive gratitude is a three-step process that goes something like this:

1. Acknowledging the gift. “Lucky me! I have so much more than most people.” We are often thankful in general by comparing ourselves to other, less-fortunate people. Even nonbelievers practice Step 1 very well. This is a good thing. It’s just not the only thing.

2. Acknowledging the giver. “Thank you, Father. I know that every good thing comes from you” (James 1:17). Most Christians at least land here at Step 2. And often they stop right there. But, there’s more.

3. Be still and ask Him to say something back to you. Listen for His still, small voice in your spirit. Read Psalm 139 and Zephaniah 3:17. Or better yet, visit YouTube and search for “The Father’s Love Letter.” Receive His sweet words and know for sure that He loves you, and He is always happy to be with you.

God does not want to be a distant spiritual algorithm: You do this, and He will do that. Christians do not live in the same cause-and-effect reality that the world lives in. In fact, God wanted interactive relationship with us so much that He became one of us, and died to take away our sin and to show us the Father’s love.

You can be absolutely sure that God is a loving Father who wants to be with us in our everyday lives. But relationship takes time and involves talking and listening. The talking part is much easier than the listening part.

Think about how much you love your children. That’s how God thinks about you.

Ask Him a question and then get quiet and listen for His answer. You might start with: “Father, what do you think about me?” Then, listen for Him to call your name and answer your question.

 

Sharon Lennox-Infante is a Certified Life Coach who lives and works in Los Altos. For more information, visit SharonLennox.com.

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