Three Lies We Believe about Gratitude and the Truth about Them

I guess I should begin this post by screaming "HAPPY EARLY THANKSGIVING" and then proceeding to throw candy corn your way. But unfortunately, since I can't see you and you can't see me, you're just going to have to imagine me doing that. (And I'll have to do the same thing since I don't have any candy corn at the moment. D: D:)

NATURALLY I've decided to be a good blogger and blog about thankfulness for Thanksgiving--as opposed to following my whims and blogging about something completely unrelated. You're welcome. 

(Although let's be honest, we all know this post is more for me than for you, but shhh. Humor me just this once.) 



I think this one is the most common lies, and one that many of us live out ALL THE TIME, even if we know it's not the truth. Because it's easy to KNOW this in our minds. 

It's like understanding some sort of fact in Algebra 2 class--sure, I can understand that the cosine of a triangle is equal to the adjacent side over the hypotenuse of said triangle. But graphing said cosine? LOL HOW ABOUT NOT. I understand the fact in isolation, but as soon as I have to apply it to other concepts, it's not so easy anymore. 

In the same way, it's easy to understand this FACT about gratitude, but still live contrary to it. What's hard is to live out this idea of steadfast gratitude in our day-to-day lives. Because what if I've had a bad day? What if I'm just SO TIRED and I feel like I'm going to collapse? These are both fairly mild scenarios, but they're universal. Just about anyone can relate to them. So think back to your last bad day; how did you respond to it? 

All of us THINK we're grateful people until we're faced with circumstances that stretch us. Then we find ourselves asking--what is there to be thankful for here? what is there to be thankful for in this? 

The truth is that gratitude doesn't depend on our circumstances; it depends on our attitudes. Instead of using bad days as excuses to complain, why don't we use them as opportunities to count our blessings? Jesus is my Savior. I'm still breathing. I live in a house. I can drive with the windows rolled all the way down. Learning Spanish is fun. Water tastes great, honestly, and I get to drink it clean and clear.  I'm wearing a Converse t-shirt. I can read God's promises whenever I want to. 

Maybe then we can transform our outlooks and realize that our day isn't nearly as bad as we think it is. 

Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Is it possible to possess gratitude and not actually feel all that grateful? Yup! Gratitude is based off of facts, not off of emotions. It's based off a knowledge of just how truly blessed we are, whether or not we FEEL blessed. 

Sometimes choosing to change our attitude is what causes our feelings to follow. Philippians 4:6-7 shows this well. It says this: 

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

In the verses, we change our attitude; then God changes our heart. While the passage doesn't directly relate to gratitude, the point is still valid. When you choose to be grateful, even when you don't FEEL like it, soon the feeling will follow. Soon you'll realize that you really are blessed--even though at one point, you didn't feel that way. 

This one's particularly sneaky. It's the one that lets us wallow in our discontentment because our lack of gratitude is only hurting ourselves... right? 

WRONG. 

When God tells us not to do something (don't be ungrateful) or to do something (be grateful!!! :D), it's normally for our own benefit. It's to protect us. It's to keep us from doing things we'll regret.

But, oftentimes it's not just for our own benefit. It's for the benefit of those around us. Even if we're not complaining verbally, an ungrateful spirit still effects anyone we come into contact with. It can manifest itself in a variety of different ways: a lack of interest in others, a lack of joy, a lack of contentment, a lack of a servant's attitude. 

An ungrateful spirit oftentimes comes from an "entitled" mentality; the belief that we DESERVE what we have. But gratitude is the opposite--it's the realization that we deserve NOTHING from God, and yet He's given us so, so much. 



ALRIGHT IT'S TIME. You knew this question was coming so here we go: What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? What has God blessed you with? :D Any fun plans to celebrate? 


Also just a quick fyi: I'm thankful for comments. JUST SAYING. 


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32 comments:

  1. This was awesome. Thank you so, so much for this.

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  2. Great post, Jonny. Thankfulness is so important!
    I'm thankful for my family and my God above all else :D
    ~ Abby {novelsdragonsandwardrobedoors.blogspot.com}

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    1. Thanks! I AGREE. I think it's so cool that we get a whole holiday just to celebrate thankfulness.
      SAME. Those are both super important things to be thankful for. *nods*

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  3. Great reminder. Thanks for sharing. (And I really appreciated the candy corn. Thanks. ;)

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  4. AMEN TO ALL THIS, YES *nodnodnodnodnod*

    that third point....Pastor's actually been preaching a lot lately about that kind of thing. what you do doesn't only affect you, it has an effect on everybody around you(context being 1Corinthians 8-10ish) and how we're supposed to be watchful of our actions/lives. and for the second one, Phil. 4:8 keeps standing out to me lately.

    What's really interesting is how things I hear from lots of different places keep fitting together and being convicting/profound, and it's like, yep that's just a coincidence*cough*no. XD

    things I'm thankful for, hmmm.... the firm foundation of the Bible, for sure....God's direction and guidance in all the murky places where we're like pffft idk what to do next(which has come up a lot lately)....a pastor who's not afraid to preach the Book....my family and the relationship and foundation we have....friends that are the iron-sharpeneth-iron friends.... and like every other year, there's tons more that I could say, but those are the ones that right now are the most impacting/memorable/coming to mind/striking to me. : )

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    1. OKAY NOW I HAVE TO READ THAT PASSAGE. *mental note that I need to read 1 Corinthians 8-10ish* DON'T LET ME FORGET. XD

      Same actually? Not so much with /this/ post but with my last post that was 100% my experience and I was like "whoooa."

      AHH YOUR LIST IS GREAT. I'm definitely thankful for all those things also, especially #2 and the last one. *nods*

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  5. Great post!
    I am thankful for my family and friends, especially since this school year so far has been very stressful and busy.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Thanks!
      Mmm yes those are definitely good things to be thankful for. :D I can relate to school being stressful/busy, though! But it's good for us to focus on what we've been blessed with instead of what's stressful.

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  6. AMEN TO ALL OF THIS. I feel that none of this is ever mentioned when gratitude is talked about. Thank you for this!

    This week, I'm mainly thankful that I finished my nano novel and survived xD I started the month off slow because I was ill, but *somehow* I was able to finish the novel early, like I planned. I'm also thankful that my family is just HERE and alright after the crazy things that went on this month.

    (and now you're making me hungry for candy corn xP)

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    1. Wow really? As I writing this I was like "UGH I FEEL LIKE THIS IS REALLY CLICHE" but then I decided it was still relevant, especially for me. Maybe it's not as cliche as I thought though LOL.

      WHOA YOU FINISHED YOUR NANO? :O :O :O :O CONGRATULATIONS. *high fives* You're nine days early, wow. Plus your novel sounds fantastic so I can't wait to read it. (#newsletterstalker mwahaha)

      (mmmm same I'm making MYSELF hungry for candy corn XD)

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  7. AMEN.

    Even if we don't have 'Thanksgiving' as a thing in Australia, this actually reminds me of something my pastor said in his sermon on Sunday. He was talking about joy and the fact that joy isn't related to circumstances because the only true joy comes from the Lord and he is ALWAYS full of joy.
    And joy is kinda like gratefulness. It's seeing beyond the messiness and being overwhelmed by the blessings that we do have. Because, gosh, I look around I'm. so. blessed. I have a house, enough food, a wonderful family, a bed, way enough clothes, and that's only just scraping the surface.

    God. is. so. good.

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    1. Whaaaat no Thanksgiving in Australia? D: I guess I always thought that Australians were like Canadians--you just have it at a different time LOL. Now you /have/ to come to the USA sometime so we can show you what Thanksgiving is. *nods*
      Mmm yes joy is a lot like gratefulness. Or, at least, it stems from a grateful attitude.
      I LOVE YOUR LIST THOUGH. It's so important to be thankful for all the things that we typically take for granted.

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  8. there is much truth in this post *nods*. sometimes I think we just get so busy that we forget to remember how amazingly blessed we are. we just get so...used to things.

    right now, I'm thankful for lots. yeah, that could sound lame, but it's true. God has brought me through so much this year, and had given me so many new experiences. experiences that have grown and taught me so many new things. to be more patient, even I already thought I was. to enjoy every moment, but to look forward to Him. To not worry - and to just...live.

    so yep, that's basically it. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, JON xD

    p.s. also thankful for pie CUZ...PIE

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    1. GOOD. I think so also hehe. And I totally agree! It's so easy to lose focus of gratitude when we overcommitt (<< pretend I spelled that right ok) and find ourselves stressing out.

      Naaah that doesn't sound lame, actually. I think experiences are FANTASTIC things to be thankful for, especially ones that teach you things.

      HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU TO + HAPPY BIRTHDAY WOOT WOOT. I hope you enjoyed your day like I told you to. xD (Also I'm asking Julia just to make sure you did mwahahah)

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  9. Well said! (And candy corn is always appreciated!) I think that with the busy lifestyle we have now, it's sometimes hard to pause and be grateful for all the blessings that we have.
    This year, I'm especially thankful for family and friends. And I know I'll also be thinking about the year as a whole (because I'm turning 16 on Thanksgiving!), and thinking back, I'm thankful for the many opportunities I've had this past year, like taking dual credit classes and writing a novel and doing theater. Taking these chances have enriched my life in so many ways - one of the ones that I'm most thankful for is the opportunity to stage manage a play and a musical this year. That was such an amazing experience that taught me so much, and I know I'll never forget it.

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    1. SAME. Especially since we have SO MUCH to distract us from what we have, and SO MUCH to draw our attention towards what we don't have. (*cough*social media honestly*cough*)
      Heeeey happy [late] birthday then! Your birthday is the same as Sarah's from the comment above, haha. Sounds like you've had tons of opportunities in 2017 though, THAT'S AWESOME.

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  10. I'm thankful for challenging posts by awesome bloggers, such as posts about stress and gratitude. *wink, wink* Seriously, though, I haven't been very grateful lately, and this post was convicting. But, now I don't have to feel grateful to be grateful! Also, it's very true that our ungratefulness affects those around us. Thanks for a great reminder, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Aw YOU'RE TOO NICE. XD Exactly though! Glad you agreed with the points. *nods* Happy [very late lol] Thanksgiving to you also!

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    2. Why, thank you! (Can you tell my friends that? XD ) All joking aside, though, your posts always seem to come at the exact time I need to read them. So . . . how DO you do that?? :D

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  11. This is so true--especially #3 and falling prey to an 'entitled' mentality. People don't often realize (or in my case, remember ☺) that their EVERY attitude has a "butterfly effect" on those around them. Thank you for writing about this!

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    1. SAME FOR ME. The "entitled" mentality will get me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME if I'm not careful and prayerful about it. Thanks for reading!

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  12. This was beautiful and it has changed my outlook on thankfulness. Thank you, Jonathan. I needed this post.
    I went on hiatus for nearly two weeks because of the internet affecting my mood and me being on it for too long. I think that, sometimes, the internet can have a toxic affect on our thankfulness and our gratitude for the things we have around us.
    Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving. We had our meal as a late lunch/early dinner. We watched the parade and we got our yard mowed and Christmas decorations ready so we can decorate today. XD And of course the most important part was pie. XD

    ~Ivie
    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw thanks! Glad it could help you out. :D
      OKAY I CAN RELATE TO THAT. I've done the same thing before, and I totally agree. The internet is good at drawing our attention to what we /don't/ have--that's why it's super important to be careful how much time we spend on social media or such.
      I did, thanks! Yours sounds awesome also. :D We did pretty much the same thing for lunch, but we decorated our basement on Thanksgiving and played some games with our grandparents.

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  13. Oh my gosh this was amazing, and very very true. Thank you for this!

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  14. Hey Jonathan!
    Jsyk, I've nominated you for the 2017 Liebster Award. Your blog is awesome and I always really enjoy the posts; you have a wonderful Christian/writerly ministry going here. No pressure at all, and if you've already been nominated, no problem. :)
    Link: https://importantnothingsweb.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/2017-liebster-award/

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    1. Hi Olivia! Thanks so much for tagging me! I don't normally do tags, but I shall take a look at this one. :D

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  15. Ahhh, these are so true! Especially the fact that gratitude doesn’t just affect us. Life has been crazy this year, and stressful (I read your post on that as well), so I really needed this! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. SAME FOR ME. This has been the most crazy/stressful year of my life so far, also. *nods* Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  16. A M E N!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is so, so true. Your posts are always filled with so much wisdom, and I love that.

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