Gratefulness First


After my second kidney transplant failed in 1998 I was devastated in many ways! Especially at the realisation that I’d have to go back to having Dialysis treatments three times a week again.

One day a driver picked me up from school to take me to my Dialysis treatment that afternoon. I sat in the car as we drove to the hospital, thinking about how unfair life was. It was unfair that I couldn`t hang out with my friends, unfair that I couldn`t be outside that afternoon, unfair that I needed to go to the hospital yet again etc.

My mind-set was that everything was unfair. And in that moment I thought I was basically the only person who had issues to deal with.

But, at some point I felt like a voice whispered to me and said: “Don`t look at the things you can`t do, look at the things you can still do!”

There is a huge difference between looking at what we can`t do and looking at what we can still do!

I was changed forever that afternoon. From that time on I learned to constantly first look at life with the perspective of “what is still available?” Not from the perspective of “what has gone or doesn`t exist anymore”.

 

In this blog I would like to encourage you to have an attitude of gratefulness first. And to share with you the good effect that will have on your life.

 

1. You came with nothing and you will go with nothing

 

We humans enter this world with nothing but our bodies and our parents – and the latter one is unfortunately not always the case for everyone. It`s a godly gift when we are born. On top of that, everything that we get, own and produce in life is a gift from God – to whom everything belongs!

 

1 Timothy 6:7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.“ (NLT)

 

This says to me that we basically don`t deserve anything! So basically being grateful means acknowledging that what we get or have is undeserved and comes from the one to whom everything belongs – God.

Simply being aware that nothing that we have in life comes from ourselves, is already a mindset shift that leads us to be grateful first, before anything else.

 

2. Being grateful first brings deep satisfaction

 

I believe that gratefulness leads to positivity and positivity leads to a better and healthier life. In another words being grateful first in a particularly bad situation shifts our focus from negativity to positivity. I have never seen someone who is ungrateful and positive at the same time.

The more we are grateful first in any given situation the more we have full enjoyment of life! When gratefulness is developed over time, at a particular ”gratitude-level” it doesn`t matter anymore whether we have “little” or “much” in life.

 

In Philippians 4:12 the apostle Paul talks about his enjoyment of life. He says: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.“ (NIV)

In another words, Paul is saying that he is pretty much going well through life no matter if he has plenty or if he is in want!

 

Since my revelation in the story above, I have experienced many highs and lows – some were greater while others were smaller. But I can say that what has brought me so far in life with a chronic illness (and will take me further) is the attitude of being grateful. Why? Because it gives me deep satisfaction in life and I can see things from a positive perspective!

Gratefulness doesn`t always come naturally but it`s a skill that you can adopt. That’s great because we humans have the ability to develop this powerful skill, which can change our lives!

I want to be the guy who as early in life as possible is like Paul! A guy who is able to be grateful and (still) praising God whether in pain or not, whether happy or unhappy, whether in comfort or discomfort, whether ill or well, whether in wealth or in poverty.

 

I want to encourage you that the deepest satisfaction you can have in life is to be grateful first in any given situation. It`s easier said than done! But if you master an attitude of gratefulness, it is a wonderful habit that you are able to apply any time and anywhere – no matter the circumstances.

 

Ask yourself the questions below to help you get started or to improve your “gratefulness first skills”:

– What am I grateful for right now? (Write down 10 things)

– What are my first thoughts in the morning when I wake up? (Are they filled with gratefulness or ungratefulness?)

– What are the things that I`m ungrateful about and why?

– If I was more grateful, what could change in my life?

 

I hope I have encouraged and inspired you to be (more) grateful under any circumstances. I would love to hear about what are you grateful for right now. Comment below to let me know.

 

Be blessed

Nathanael


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