Have you ever shared an experience with someone, and then discovered that they remember it completely differently than you?
My husband and I frequently – and often to each other’s amazement – recall the details of events with significant variation. We find ourselves laughing, astonished that we’re living such different realities!
I’m reminded in those moments, that perspective is shaping our stories.
My perspective can move me from frustration to freedom, from self-pity to victory… even when nothing around me has changed! So many times I’ve felt aggravated by a “first-world problem” – until I remember that most of the world is dreaming of having my problems.
Perspective is one of the biggest deciding factors of our contentment and happiness. It’s what helps us “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts” (Colossians 3:15).
So, how do we make sure we’re seeing life from the best perspective? Check out this amazing quote from Christine Caine:
“The world tells us to focus on what we do not have, who we are not, and where we have not yet arrived; but I have found that if we are simply grateful for all we do have… all of the “are nots” in our lives fade into insignificance.”
Did you catch that? She says that simply being grateful can shift our perspective on life dramatically. And in my experience, God has shown me over and over again that it’s true.
Let’s make it our aim to cultivate gratitude on the daily. If we water seeds of thankfulness in our hearts, its fruit will likely grow to overtake our discontent.
Here are three ways we can increase gratitude in our lives:
- Cherish the Word of God
Romans 12 tells us we can be transformed if our minds are renewed. 1 Corinthians 2 lets us know that we now have the mind of Christ. Psalm 119 suggests that if we walk on a path of obedience to God’s Word, we’ll discover delight.
Neuroscience Researcher Dr. Carolyn Leaf tells us: “Thinking and consciously controlling your thought life is one of the best ways, if not the best way, of detoxing your brain. … Consciously controlling your thought life means not letting thoughts rampage through your mind. It means learning to engage interactively with every single thought that you have, and to analyze it before you decide either to accept or reject it.”
To me, that sounds a lot like “taking every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10)!
Only when we’re studying the Word of God and applying it to our lives, can we have a right and grateful perspective. So many messages bombard us every day. We NEED the Bible to shape and guide us, or all those other messages are going to vie for influence on our point of view. The Word of God is so freeing, so alive, and so beautiful; let’s dive in daily to its depths, and let God shape our world-view in the coolest way ever: by revealing His.
Impure motives give discontent a leg to stand on. Want to drain your gratitude fast? Try idolizing recognition, worldly success, or fame. Try giving in to a selfish motive.
But if your goal is gratitude, then make sure you’re constantly separating your calling from your fleshly wants. We were all made for greatness – and with it humility, purity, and grace. But if a selfish motivation creeps in, attempting to disguise itself as greatness, our gratitude will leak; because contentment can’t co-exist with greed.
- Speak It
If there’s someone who you feel grateful for, say so. William Arthur Ward once said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
How amazing would it be if we filled the Church with constant appreciation! Let’s look for opportunities to speak gratitude to those around us; that kind of thing can elevate someone’s week.
There are also SO many things we can tell God “thank You” for. My guess is, if I attempted all of mine in one day, I’d run out of sunlight with a long list still to go. I’m sure you feel the same way. Let’s dwell on His goodness – I know we won’t regret it.
What’s one way gratitude has changed your perspective lately?
ABOUT ANDREA HAMILTON BINLEY
Andrea Hamilton Binley has written music for over 30 TV shows and has performed around the globe as an artist rep for Project AK-47. Andrea is a worship leader at Inland Hills Church in Chino, CA, and a lead singer in the upbeat, synth worship band Binley. The band’s first single, “No Other,” is out now.Follow Andrea