There is nothing uglier than a person with an entitlement mentality, a spoiled brat spirit. In contrast, there is nothing more beautiful than a grateful person. Everyone loves a person who is thankful. You can’t stay away. You just want to hang around them all the time.

Charissa Gingerich Higdon with twins Haley & Noah

My beautiful daughter Charissa is one of the most grateful persons on the planet. When she was little, she would thank her mom and I over and over again for a gift we gave, a treat, time spent with her, driving her to a soccer practice, or whatever. We even had to tell her she could stop thanking us because we had heard it a dozen times already. To this day as a 30 year-old mommy of twins, she still can’t stop thanking people when they bless her.

This past weekend, I was trimming shrubs and cut the television cable feed into my home. The contractor who buried the cable had left an 18 inch segment above ground right where it went through my shrubs. My hedge trimmer discovered the error. I had a choice to make. Was I going to whine and complain all weekend because I had no cable TV in the house or make the best of it?  After all, it was one full day of college football and another day of NFL football that I was missing until the cable company finally sent someone out to fix their screw-up.

Skyline Drive14I intentionally set out to be thankful. First of all, I had a first world problem to deal with. My third world travels have taken me to many homes where there are no televisions. While having a pretty basic cable package, I still have dozens of high definition channels to choose from 24/7. I even have a seven-inch portable color screen television in my closet that gathers a half dozen over-the-air HD channels. I dusted off the box and used it.

Frankly, most of the complaints I hear or see posted on social media arise out of an entitlement mindset that has permeated our North American culture. There is a lot of ugly spoiled-brat kind of grouchiness that saturates our culture with ungratefulness. We complain about the weather—too hot or too cold. We gripe about the customer service of businesses we procure from. We grumble about the traffic and the driving-habits of others. We hate to wait in line. Fast food isn’t fast enough. We think we deserve better. Really, it’s not very pretty when you stop to think about it.

Gratitude comes out of the overflow of a thankful heart. When we realize how blessed we are, it makes all the difference in the world. We used to sing a song in the church of my childhood, “Count your many blessings and name them one by one.” When I practice that one line of that old hymn, it changes my perspective. It changes my attitude. It changes my heart. And it changes my actions.

This week, slow down enough to reflect on your blessings. Name them. Write them down. Express them to someone else. Repeat them over and over. You will turn what could be an ugly self-centered week into a beautiful week of thanksgiving and gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

QUESTION: What are the top three things you are thankful for today?  Share them in the comment section.


6 responses to The Beauty of Gratitude

  1. James Liberto on November 26, 2013 at 7:22 PM Reply

    Cape Christian Fellowship
    Being able to answer God’s requests to serve
    Fellowship with my small group friends

  2. Terry Frith on November 26, 2013 at 7:15 PM Reply

    Well Said and AMEN! I sometimes find myself being of the “complaining” type, but do remind myself how BLESSED we are in this country (more like spoiled). We have SO MUCH to be thankful for! Your comments are SPOT ON!

  3. Flora Sanchez on November 26, 2013 at 11:46 AM Reply

    I am so thankful and blessed for all of the people that are a part of my life. It doesn’t take much to be thankful and grateful, It’s actually a blessing that Danny (my hubby) & I live by everyday and my kids do too!! It’s all about paying it forward with the ones you love and counting your blessings.

  4. Lynne Wilson on November 26, 2013 at 9:48 AM Reply

    I am thankful for family and friends.
    I am thankful for Jesus as my Savior.
    I am thankful for no job and sickness.

  5. Charmé on November 26, 2013 at 9:03 AM Reply

    I am thankful for:
    * My undeserved relationship with Jesus. Oh, how He loves us…”for while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8.
    * The undeserved blessings beyond measure, found in my husband, Jeff, our children, Jeff, Jennifer, Janée, and our six healthy grandchildren. Thank you, God.
    * Most recently, I am thankful for my new part-time job, working for Christians in a zero stress workplace; and for our new place of worship (after leaving 15 years of pastoral ministry).

    Dennis, how blessed you are to have raised such a thankful daughter. Thanks for sharing your honesty and insightful thoughts. Have a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

  6. Dave Baldwin on November 26, 2013 at 6:36 AM Reply

    Three Things I’m Thankful For:
    — My Salvation — Thank you Jesus
    — My Family — Thank you Jesus
    — My Health — Thank you Jesus

    Love your blog Dennis! Thank you so much.

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