Being grateful is not an attitude and choice I easily make most days. Because I’m rather detail-oriented, my eye immediately goes to the visual imperfection or the disappointment in most situations.
Yes! I’m rather embarrassed to admit I’m more of a glass-half-empty kind of gal.
But I remember a story I read in middle school from Corrie Ten Boom’s book—The Hiding Place—that convicts me about gratitude to this day. You may be familiar. In case you’re not, allow me to recap.
Corrie and her sister Betsie were taken as prisoners in a Nazi Concentration Camp during World War II. They were arrested after the “hiding place,” where they hid Jews who’d sought shelter with them, was discovered in their home.
While Corrie and Betsie were in the concentration camp, they shared their faith with all the other prisoners, even holding a daily Bible study in their barracks. But, this too, had to be kept a secret or they could have been tortured and, likely, killed.
One day Betsie felt the need to thank God for “all things” based on what she observed in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 . . .
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
But Corrie balked at this outlandish idea. Still, Betsie persisted in praying for all the good and bad things in their lives, including an infestation of fleas in their beds. This sent Corrie reeling, only to be reminded of what 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says . . .
“‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ Betsie quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.”
Later, Betsie discovered that the guards avoided coming into the barracks all because of the fleas! This proved to the sisters just how important it is to thank God in ALL circumstances!
[bctt tweet=”There’s always something good God is doing through the hardships you and I face. So there’s really no excuse for not being grateful to God every day! #gratitude” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
I’m also convinced that gratitude is essential to staying encouraged in marriage and emotionally attractive to our mates.
So, let’s gain insight into how much gratitude is a part of our lives and marriage, using the questions I’ve provided.
Hover over each Scripture below to see where the questions spring from—scoring yourself based on: 1 never; 2 rarely; 3 sometimes; 4 often; 5 almost always.
To download the inventory and discover your overall score, click this link—Gratitude Inventory.
1. When I suffer for Christ’s sake, I take great joy in this opportunity, just like the apostles did (Acts 5:41).
I’m a 3 here, partly because I don’t really suffer for Christ’s sake. Maybe I suffer in nominal ways, trying to give of my time and efforts to serve in various capacities. But that’s not near what these apostles were experiencing! I’m sure I would buckle under that kind of pressure!
If we want to grow in this area, we must let our devotion to Christ be our motivation to persevere in persecution and pain.
2. When I go through troubles and trials, I am quick to rejoice because I know God will use it to strengthen my character into greater Christlikeness (Romans 5:3-4; II Corinthians 12:9-10; James 1:2-4).
I’m a 4 here, not because I do this immediately, but because I do it rather quickly. This is due in large part to having been a Christ-follower for so long. I’ve seen over and over how God has used the struggles in my life to refine my character.
To grow stronger here, it’s important to take stock of the ways God has worked in your life through trials and uncertainties. It’s sure to encourage you when you see it in black and white!
3. I regularly pray and thank God for my Christian friends (Ephesians 1:16; I Thessalonians 1:2).
This was an interesting question since I can score myself very high on one part, but less so on the other. I’m a 5 for praying for friends, since I do that ALL.THE.TIME! But I’m a 3 in thanking God for them, so a 4 overall. I don’t do that nearly often enough, but will start ASAP!
Struggling here? This is simple to fix and begin to do! If you’re afraid you’ll forget, put a reminder to do it somewhere … NOW!
4. I strive to give thanks to God in ALL circumstances because I know it is God’s will for me to do this (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).
This one is probably a 4, like number #2 above. I’m convinced that giving thanks to God is His will for me, I just need to do it immediately. It usually takes me some brief measure of time before I can truly rejoice.
The next time you struggle here, maybe it would help to remember Betsie Ten Boom’s inspiring response during a time of intense suffering.
5. When I feel anxious, I pray and thank God, knowing He will take my worries and exchange them for His peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
I’m probably a 5 here, only because I’ve discovered over the years how great this works! It has become my default in times of anxiety.
If you struggle here, then try this out the next time you’re stressed and anxious. But be sure to write out Philippians 4:6-7 on a card so you can follow the process to the letter—truly releasing your burden to God!
6. I regularly take stock of all the good God is doing, and sometimes end up laughing with delight or bursting into song when I realize how amazing God is to me (Psalm 126:2-3)!
This might be a 3 for me because I’m not stopping often enough to take stock, nor do I end up feeling this degree of joy when I do. I must not be totally comprehending the mystery and marvel of God’s provision and care.
If you struggle here, play your favorite worship song while you belt out the lyrics as a song of praise to God and I’ll do the same!
My overall score was 23, so I have a strong level of gratitude. But I want to strive for more because I know just how important this is to my life and marriage!
I plan to work on number 6, where I scored a 3, because taking stock of the good God has done for me truly will increase my gratitude. It also can elevate my mood, strengthen my faith and encourage not just myself but also my husband and family.
How about you? If you work on being more grateful, I promise it will do the same for you and your marriage!
FYI: I will be taking a break from the Insight for 2020 series until August 2020. In the meantime, I’ll be updating some of my vintage posts throughout the summer, so keep coming back by!
Which of the six ways we can strive to be more grateful do you need to work on the most?
What is one way you are grateful for your life or marriage?
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements Linkup, Recharge Wednesday, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, and Faith on Fire Friday. [yikes-mailchimp form=”1″]
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