Struggling With Gratefulness
Hi, my friends! For a really long time in my life, I struggled with the concept of gratefulness. Every time I would hear a preacher or a song say to praise God, I would immediately clam up and get kinda defensive within myself. And when I would hear someone say to praise God just off the strength of being alive, I would get not only defensive but angry. I never showed these feelings outwardly. I stayed calm at church, smiled, and even clapped, but inside within me, I was feeling turmoil. And during my walk with God, He has shown me that I had an issue in that area of my life. And for the life of me, I couldn't understand what was bothering me so much with this concept. I thanked God all the time on my own but I would only clam up when people told me to thank God. I was really confused and honestly, it caused me a lot of distress. I felt like I was being a selfish person or stubborn or something and I wanted to remove that from myself. So I asked God to help me see what I needed to change, and He showed me that it wasn't exactly gratefulness that was my problem. It was my relationship to it that was the problem.
So to provide context to that statement, my relationship with gratefulness has always been kinda rocky. For most of my life gratefulness was used as a weapon against me any time I had a problem or complained about anything. I could have been facing real and terrible struggles and many times I would be met with "Just be grateful for the good" or "It could be worse" like that would do anything to help me. Some people even added shame in the mix and said things like "Someone else has it worse than you so you shouldn't complain" and that would make me feel extremely bad about myself. I felt like every time gratefulness was brought up, it was used as a way to silence me. And it was also used against me like criticism, and it made me feel like I wasn't enough and that I wasn't doing enough to please God. So I was comfortable being grateful to God on my own because I was grateful, but when other people told me to be grateful it felt like they were attacking me, and it would trigger me into self-criticism, self-hate, and self-judgment. However, once I figured out that it wasn't gratefulness within itself that bothered me, I was then able to start to heal. So every time I heard someone in the church tell us to start to praise God or be grateful, I would tell myself "They are not criticizing you, they are simply making a suggestion." I felt like that simple phrase has helped me to disarm the negative connotation that gratefulness had in my brain. So now I feel way better whenever gratefulness is being brought up because I know now that it's not simply a way to silence people, but it's also a great way to look at your life so you don't feel so overwhelmed by negative things that are happening. So if you also struggle with this, just remember that God always and forever loves you, and will never try to silence your pain. He is with you! And you are not alone!
But, I also want to say that even though I have written this post, and have started to feel better about it; I still get triggered by the phrase sometimes because it was used so often to harm me. But I am happy that I started the steps to make a change, and I believe that God will help me to be fully healed from this issue in due time. Things take time to heal and I know that with the Lord in my side, He will help me to be free from even this.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
James 1 :19 NIV
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV