The Lens of Gratitude

by Jun 18, 2021Article, Prayer Newsletter

The Lens of Gratitude

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Philippians 4:11

Iwent to the eye doctor a few weeks ago, for a much-needed checkup. I’d suspected my lenses were off and, sure enough, my reading prescription needed to be increased (thank you very much, aging). After I picked up my new glasses, I noticed a striking improvement in my ability to read close-up.

Just like I can put my glasses on and experience a noticeable change in my vision, I’ve realized that contentment can be similar. Too often, when I observe a situation – whether it’s glancing around my living room, inspecting my outfit in the mirror or reviewing my bank balance – my first reaction is discontentment. I focus on what I want to change, what is missing or what isn’t as it should be.

When discontent fills my field of vision, it can push out the good and beautiful. If all I see is what is wrong or missing, I lose sight of what God IS doing and focus instead on what He isn’t. My entire perspective becomes blurry and negatively skewed.

Forgive me, Lord, for my bent toward discontentment. Thank you that our present circumstances are not our permanent reality. Help me to give thanks to You in all things and to choose gratitude.

So how do I break my bad habit of discontent? With the lens of Gratitude. As I observe a situation and my first inclination is discontentment, I can choose instead to put on my gratitude glasses. Gratitude allows me to see comfortable living room furniture that is perfect for our low-key friends and our active puppy instead of the worn-out couch that I’m eager to replace. Gratitude helps me to be thankful for my stylish outfit even if it isn’t the size I used to wear. When I put on my gratitude glasses, I’m thankful for the steady income that puts money in our bank account, regardless of the amount.

In the above verse from his letter to the Philippians, Paul tells us that contentment is something he’s learned. It’s a habit I can create – just like putting on my glasses first thing in the morning. Choosing gratitude changes my perspective and helps me to be content with my current circumstances, no matter what they may be.

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