Gratitude: A Complex Characteristic

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Recently, at a Stake Relief Society meeting, I was drawn to a class on cultivating gratitude.  As I sat in that class I realized how much I needed to cultivate that great attribute into my heart.  Sure, I am quick to express thanks when given a gift or help.  Yet, sitting in that class I became well aware that gratitude is much more than giving thanks.  I came home eager to study more about gratitude and how to instill it more fully in my heart.

Interestingly, upon looking up gratitude in the Bible dictionary I found it only said, "see ingratitude or thanksgiving."  Have you ever tried to learn about a principle by studying it's opposite first?  This has been such an eye-opening experience for me.  I am seeing in what ways I have been very ungrateful for all I have been given.  

When the Israelites became thirsty in their wilderness journey they began to murmur, as did Laman and Lemuel in their own journey.  When things get physically difficult, I can murmur.  When things don't go exactly as I planned out each day, I can murmur.  Murmuring is just an act of ingratitude.  So....

When I nag at the kids for not getting their jobs done after the umpteenth time, I'm showing ingratitude. 

When I'm grumpy because my husband comes home late (after working all day, mind you!), I'm showing ingratitude. 

When I sigh or stress over having to cook dinner every night, I'm showing ingratitude. 

When I get upset instead of showing love when my two-year old gets into my make up, or cuts his hair, or colors all over the walls, or eats all of JL's birthday candy, or......(yes, the list is endless), I am showing ingratitude.  

When I'm too tired to help a child in the middle of the night, I'm showing ingratitude.

When I'm impatient because the lines are too long at the grocery store, my feelings are rooted in ingratitude.  

We offend God when we do not acknowledge His hand in all things and when we do not obey His commandments (D&C 59:21). "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doing and he will direct thee for good" (Alma 37:37).

Motherhood is sometimes a thankless job.  It's one full of demands of others being placed upon us.  And yet, I have to be grateful when at the age of 10 I dreamed of doing nothing else!!  These runny noses and messy floors will soon be gone.  My husband and I will one day be all alone together.  If I am to build those relationships ready for the future, I need to be cultivating the seeds of gratitude now, in the midst of the chaos.  Who knew this characteristic could be so complex?

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“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
-Henri Matisse

(quoted and commented at Moments Like This)


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