I debated whether to share these thoughts, but decided to do so. Gratitude. Being thankful. Many Bible verses encourage us to give thanks to God. It can be easy to over-look our blessings and focus on the negative. We need to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness in our hearts, rather than be complainers. Even in less-than-good circumstances, there are things for which to be thankful.
During this seasonal time of thankfulness, I see that some people share on social network sites things for which they are thankful throughout the month of November. I can see the advantages to this…it forces you to consider the good things in your life and can help others consider what they are grateful for as well. It can create a community environment of thankfulness.
But…yes, here comes the but. Some (note some) of this rubs me the wrong way. Rather than coming across as humble gratitude, some of the sharing I observe seems more like bragging or narcissism to me. I’m so thankful for…my fabulous marriage, my well behaved kids, my beautiful home, my loyal friends, etc. You get the idea. I’m not sure how to pinpoint or articulate the differences exactly, but there is a difference in how some of this thankfulness sharing comes across. Maybe a comparison would be how prayer request time can unfortunately turn into gossip time. Likewise, are you really being thankful or just bragging?
So I guess I’m just sharing a word of caution. Examine your motives and ask God to reveal and convict the true motives of your heart. Our underlying motives influence how we ultimately come across as we share or interact with others. Are we humbly grateful for the undeserved blessings in our lives? Or do we rather think we have earned these blessings (after all we have worked hard, made good choices, etc) so we deserve all the good things? Is it about you? Or is it about God?
Also consider how your public expressions of thanks could discourage others. You express thanks for your great health, while someone else is going through radiation and chemo. You express thanks for loyal friends, while someone else is very lonely and without friendship in their life. Don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying you can’t express thanks for great health and friendship! But in the big picture, how are you coming across to those around you? Are you real? Do you also open up about struggles and disappointments? No one has a perfect life.