Today I was folding clothes and I was eyeing my newly rearranged mantle. In the spirit of full disclosure its only newly rearranged because I may have just taken my Easter decorations down….may have. A few months back I hit the jackpot on a clearance isle and got a beautiful “Thankful, Grateful and Blessed” sign which now is properly displayed and dust free.
Some days I look at that sign and it makes me smile as I think “Yes Lord I truly am”. Yet, other days I look at this sign with an exhausted eye roll as it reminds me of how I should be viewing my current situation. Like when the kids are running, squealing through the house because one has the others toy. Like when my youngest pup decides to chew up another Paw Patrol pup or a toilet paper roll or my toothbrush. Then the sign becomes a whisper from God as He brings me back around to the truth of who I am.
Today I found myself contemplating this sign of affirmation. I am blessed, no doubt! I am thankful. But, am I grateful? Can one be thankful but not grateful?
I think it’s interesting the words we used today and how our culture changes them. One slight difference in connotation can completely change a word. I looked up thankful and grateful in the dictionary and they were very similar but there was a little difference that makes for a big difference of our heart.
Thankful: conscious of benefit received
Grateful: appreciative of benefit received
Then I found myself asking what is the difference between conscious and appreciative?
Conscious – perceiving, noticing with a degree of controlled thought
Appreciation – feeling or expression of admiration
I’m wrecked by this whole concept yall. I looked up thankful and grateful in the concordance and although there are multiple word options for each, I found it interesting that under grateful one of the listings says “see thankfulness”.
Have we separate these two intricately woven words in today’s culture? It wouldn’t be the first time we warped something for our benefit! This is not a huge theological debate. This is not one of those posts there scripture reference back up my theory. This is simple a heart reflection. Based on those two definitions yes, I might be thankful but no I am not always grateful.
I am aware or conscious of God’s blessing in my life but there are times when it doesn’t go any further than that. I don’t count those blessings and turn my eyes up in admiration. I don’t recognize the full magnitude of those blessings being uniquely picked out for me by a loving God who knows what I need, want and what’s best for me!
Here is why I think that peeling back the layers of our heart about thankful and grateful is important, a thankful heart takes inventory of what it has but a grateful heart counts it as enough!! There is a time to count your blessings. I mean after all there were 153 fish in the next (John 21:1-10).
A grateful heart is a content heart. Turns out there are a few verses God has for us in this. Paul says “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13,NIV) Paul was content with whatever God gave him, with whatever blessings he had to count. And in a few verses preceding he tells us how “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:6-7,NIV)
We train our hearts to be grateful by first learning to be thankful.
My prayer for you as well as myself is that we can be women that look around in our homes, family, friends….. Our world, and be not just thankful or aware that these blessings exist but to also be grateful for them. Counting each thing that we have as enough and even harder each thing that we don’t have to be just as well.
In Him, Ashley