No. 03: Ungratefulness Breeds Discontentment

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No. 03: Ungratefulness Breeds Discontentment

Listen to this episode from One Degree Podcast on Spotify. What we give our attention to tends to grow. What if our outlook on life has more to do with our internal heart condition than our external circumstances?

What if a grateful heart had the power to change our entire perspective on life? The sneaky ungratefulness that tends to plague our days has a way of breeding discontentment.

it isn't instantaneous. gratefulness is an attitude cultivated over time.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How we tend to view inconveniences as a society
  • Examples of gratefulness and ungratefulness in our own lives
  • How to become more grateful people
  • How the Gospel transforms our perspective on it all

A story of unlikely gratefulness

At 17 years old, Joni Eareckson dove into the Chesapeake Bay headfirst and fractured her spine. Once an incredibly active teenager, she found herself paralyzed from the neck down. Naturally, she endured years of anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, and doubting her faith. But after two years of therapy, she learned to paint with her mouth, and began to run towards God instead of away from him.

Joni doesn’t pretend that everything is sunshine and rainbows, but here are some encouragements she’s spoken:

“Heartache forces us to embrace God out of desperate, urgent need. God is never closer than when your heart is aching.”

“He has chosen not to heal me, but to hold me. The more intense the pain, the closer His embrace.”

What could have resulted from her accident? She could have grown to be incredibly discouraged by her unchangeable condition instead of choosing to cultivate a life of gratefulness and reliance on the Lord.

Read more about Joni’s story here.

Our outlook on life and the gratefulness of our heart

Most of the time our outlook on life has less to do with external circumstances and more to do with our internal heart condition. The same traffic jam that could inflict road rage could be one that creates an opportunity to reflect, listen to music, and pray in another.

We are a jelly donut. Outward pressures and circumstances merely force out what is already inside of us. Thanks, Pastor Dwayne, for that imagery.

We tend to elevate our inconveniences

Nathaniel had a professor (shoutout Dr. Liederbach) who said he thinks of hard circumstances in terms of a scale of 1-10. A one being a very minor, hurt finger nail, kinda circumstance and a 10 being a nuclear holocaust. The point of this isn’t to minimize pain, but to help put it into perspective.

We tend to treat our circumstances that may actually be a 4-5 as an 8-9. Of course, many people are genuinely enduring those 8-9 pains, but we should always take a minute to evaluate and put our complaints into perspective.

So how do we become more grateful?

how do we become more grateful? it starts with a proper under standing of the gospel

It starts with a proper understanding of the Gospel. We must first understand that Jesus, a perfect man, the Son of God, chose to humble himself to DIE for our sins. If we don’t deeply believe this, everything else we try to shift is just a bandaid. But if we do deeply believe this, how can we NOT be changed? How can this not drastically transform our perspective on life?

It isn’t instantaneous. Gratefulness is an attitude cultivated over time.

As with everything we discuss, it’s not about having a goal of overnight transformation. It’s about simple, compounding shifts.

Start off each day, or end each night, listing 5 things you’re grateful for.

When you notice something, spend a minute appreciating it and thanking God for it. Whether that’s the AC on a hot day, a comfortable bed when you’re tired, or food on the table when you’re super hungry. Intentionally cultivate thankfulness for the mundane things in your life.

Your one degree shift for today

Any time you have the urge to complain about something, purposefully state one thing you’re grateful for as well. Whether that’s out loud, or internally. Train yourself to look for gratefulness.

Want more?

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Establishing Healthy Rhythms for Couples + Families

Behind the Name “One Degree”

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