Are You Driven By Gratitude?

Nathan Smith Life Skills, Perspective

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what drives people.  I hear a lot about how people are ‘driven’ to accomplish certain goals or reach certain milestones. If you’ve been watching the NBA Finals recently (or Stanley Cup Finals for that matter)  you hear a lot about the drive these athletes have to win a championship or the ‘chip on their shoulder’ that makes them want to prove they can be the best in their field. It’s truly impressive what people can accomplish when they have a drive to get something done. It’s the other side of the equation, however, that makes this topic particularly challenging for me. Sometimes what drives us is actually better suited to be luggage in the trunk instead of fuel in the engine. If you’re driven by a fear of failure, or not seeming successful, a longing for significance or a need to be the best, then that drive is ultimately going to let you down. Because at the end of the day, if you accomplish your goal after being fueled by insecurity, you will realize that insecurity doesn’t go away simply because you reached the mountain top. It may actually make it worse once the reality hits that after all that hard work you don’t feel any different. So is ‘drive’ a bad thing?

Drive is a lot like money. It takes on the characteristics of the person controlling it. Money in the hands of a generous person leads to wonderful things. Money in the hands of an angry person leads to destructive things. The money itself is simply a tool. It is the condition of the person that controls those resources that determines how helpful or hurtful that tool ends up being.  Drive is similar.  The condition of our hearts will inform how we are driven and what primarily drives us.   So it really comes down to a heart issue, as so many things in life ultimately do.  Is there something nagging that pushes you forward, or is there something glorious that pulls you closer? This is where I feel the difference can be seen. Fear pushes. Gratitude pulls.  (Click Here To Read My Post ‘You Worship What You Fear’)

Fear Is A Bully

There is something amazing about a person who is truly grateful. They can’t be stopped. A grateful person looks at what they have and celebrates and stewards it. They don’t focus on what they don’t have. This makes such an attitude scalable because it is not contingent on amount or circumstance. The more grateful a person is for the talents, resources, or opportunities they have, the more they feel a desire to steward those things well. When you’re truly grateful for a gift you’ve been given, you take good care of it. When we are ungrateful or even apathetic towards what we have, we need something else to motivate us. I can see how this principle has played out in my own life and I want, more than ever, to live a life of gratitude. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Thankful For The Struggle’)

People who have had a scare with their health, tend to be grateful for life and breath and often take better care of their bodies afterwards. Why?  Are they driven by the fear of going back in the hospital?  I’m sure some are, but a great majority recognize more than ever the tremendous gift it is to have a healthy body. As such, they take better care of it.  That gratitude pulls them into a healthier lifestyle and makes something that used to be burdensome a blessing.  The same could be true of those who have gone through a difficult season financially and finally get a solid job. That person doesn’t complain as much about the boss or the systems in place.  They are so grateful for gainful employment and a chance to better their families financially that they aren’t so easily caught up in the drama. Sure they want things to run smoothly and be efficient but it’s not because they feel oppressed, it’s because they are so grateful for the opportunity they have to make a difference and improve their lives. Gratitude is driving them and they are a joy to be around. How about you?  (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Mind The Gap’)

Grateful For Another Shot, Called Today

I have taken so many things in my life for granted. Sometimes you don’t know what you truly have until some time passes. I am unusually blessed. But the truth is, so are you. Can we all find things that are unjust or messed up in our situations or circumstances? Certainly. Do those things need to be addressed?  Surely they do.  But my greatest challenge in this life won’t be the circumstances I find myself in, but the condition of my heart in the midst of it all.  I refuse to be driven by my lack or by fear because there will always be an area of lack in my life and there will always be another mountain to climb. I choose to be grateful all the more for all that I do have. And as such, I want to let that drive me to be a better steward of all that I am blessed with from friends to finances to family. Having the best view in town is more about seeing well than it is looking at something pretty. Gratitude helps us see things in the best of ways and drives us towards a life of fruitful joy. (Click Here To  Read My Post ‘Separating the Sheep From the GOAT’)

From the Bible

Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – I Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17 ESV

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” – Psalm 50:23 ESV

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