After all my daycare kids left, I needed an escape. The noise level in my house today was over the top and apparently today was “Rebellious and Whine Day.”
I hopped in the car and drove with the intent of purchasing a yummy treat which would most definitely put me in a happier mood. However, my escapade turned into anything but tranquil. During the drive, I found myself furious with another driver. This PERSON decided to keep their turn signal on so I thought they were turning. I began to pull out when I realized they were not going to be turning. I slammed on the brakes-barely missing hitting the car with the blinking turn signal.
I was frustrated and scared. I muttered (okay screamed) insults, honking the horn and used some of my best (and most creative) expletives.
When I calmed down I began to drive again. It didn’t take long for guilt to take over. Why was my immediate reaction that of anger and frustration? Shouldn’t my reaction been of relief and gratitude that I didn’t get into a car accident?
is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. We should regularly express our gratitude to God for the blessings He gives us and to others for the kind acts they do for us.
In a Presidency Message by President Thomas S. Monson from the February 2000 issue of Ensign he gives us a message of having an “Attitude of Gratitude.” A few of the plagues of our day are selfishness, greed, indulgence and cruelty. He writes that with these poisons we will find ourselves adapting a critical viewpoint equipped with words of complaints and blame. We will begin to see life in a negative light, unable to see the positivity in our lives.
“We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.”
If there had been someone in the vehicle with me and saw my reaction to barely being involved in a car accident, they would not have been able to see an ounce of love or gratitude in my heart.
As a child of God, I can’t imagine Him not shaking His head and muttering:”Wow. What an ungrateful little brat.”
Gratitude is a state of being, it is something we should continue to cultivate, not just for the big blessings which enter our lives, but also the small ones. How many times during our days do we forget to show gratitude to our family members? Our friends? To our Heavenly Father?
When I seriously thought about the above questions, my heart ached. It is so easy for me to think of all the things I don’t have, all the ill will that has been done to me and all the things that have gone wrong during my day…but the truth is, I rarely express gratitude to God for the good things He’s blessed me with…big or small.
God’s main attribute is love. Having an outgoing expression of love in our hearts for our families and fellow-man, it will be easier to have and express gratitude. He has made each of us in His image so we know it is possible to be grateful and to be loving. (Even for someone as irritable as yours truly.)
Luke 10:15 reads: If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
By following Christ’s example and living a life of obedience… we can strive to lift ourselves and others up with an ‘attitude of gratitude.’
The Lord has promised, “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious” (D&C 78:19). Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful.
We should be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are ours and for the tremendous opportunities we have. We can be thankful to our parents, family, friends, and teachers. We should express appreciation to everyone who has assisted us in any way.
We should thank our Heavenly Father for His goodness to us by acknowledging His hand in all things, thanking Him for all that He gives us, keeping His commandments, and serving others. We should especially thank Him for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, for the Savior’s great example, for His teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help, for His infinite Atonement.
—See True to the Faith (2004), 78–79
Scriptures to Ponder: