Contrary to cultural messages, it’s not all about me. Life is not about getting what I want, when I want, where I want, and how I want. I am not the center of the universe and my desires don’t supercede the wishes of everyone I encounter along the way.

While I have accomplished certain things and my feelings deserve validation (simply because I’m a human created in the image of an Almighty God), I am not more important or more valuable than anyone else. We are all on a journey through life and none of us could have gotten this far without the example, help, and encouragement of other travelers along the way.

This week’s focus is the character trait of gratefulness. It’s having or showing the desire or reason to thank somebody. Being deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received. Letting others know by my words and actions how they have benefited my life. It’s recognizing I haven’t arrived at this place in my life without the help of others … then taking the time to make sure I’ve acknowledged all they have done.

How do I develop gratefulness? I’m starting with a list of all the blessings and successes in my life … and taking notes about who helped me get here.

This warm house I’m sitting in? The mortgage and utilities are paid from my husband’s teaching salary. The computer I’m typing on? Paid for by an end-of-the-year-bonus from my employer. The car I drove to the store to pick up a gallon of milk this morning? Paid for through my husband’s salary (and the fact I get to drive the car instead of our rattling-older van with the sketchy heater … my husband, again.) The ability and time to write about topics dear to my heart? Requires a flexible-work-from-home-part-time job thanks to my employer, a dynamic faith taught and modeled by my parents, and an education thanks initially to my parents, college scholarships, and later my husband for helping finance writer’s conferences and training courses.

And the list of blessings and helpers could go on and on and on.

Once my heart is overwhelmed by how much others have done to help me get this far in the journey, gratefulness takes it one step further. After all, the Bible doesn’t say to feel thanks; it says “In everything give thanks” (1 Thes. 5:18).

What about you? Who has benefitted your life? How? What can you (will you) do to demonstrate your gratefulness?

Character Matters – Gratefulness
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