Last year, my husband and I moved into a new house. God graciously provided us with a chance to get a little more space, which included a yard for our growing family, and we were overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift. A year before we couldn’t have anticipated that this provision was part of His plan; His generosity and kindness to us were evident.
When you move, they say that you grow into the space you have. Although at first it seems like you will never be able to fill the new square footage, you soon realize that the challenge is not as difficult as you once anticipated. It is easy to think that it is because we have also added on to our family, but I know that in reality that is not the case. Even without really trying to, there is a propensity towards accumulation. What once seemed like an abundance, can quickly seem insufficient. It is easy to think about what you have, what you would change, and what no longer seems ideal once its your daily experience.
Although there may not be anything wrong with pondering what you would do differently, I fear that often when we do so, we show that the gratitude which at first overwhelmed us has dwindled. Human beings are surprisingly resilient, but one of the shortfalls of this resiliency is that we quickly become accustomed to the gifts that God has given us. What was originally a daily reminder of God’s kindness can become a benefit that we ignore. What we once couldn’t anticipate can become an expectation.
The challenge is to maintain a heart of gratitude for the generosity shown towards us even when we experience that same generosity day in a day out. It’s the same reason that I teach my child to say “thank you” every time I give her a snack. She may be completely confident by this point that I will not let her go hungry, but I want her to know that every good gift is worthy of appreciation, to the person from whose hands we receive it, and ultimately to our kind Father. When we grow weary of giving thanks, it tends to lead our heart towards sin. When we forget that we are owed nothing, and yet God graciously gives us so much, we tend to grow discontent.
There are many things that God has given us that we are now in the habit of receiving, and as a result we have grown accustomed to their presence. May we not let their prevalence in our life be an excuse to not give thanks. Instead, each time that we experience that same good thing may our heart be filled with the same level of gratitude as it was when we first received it. Instead of growing accustomed to the gifts, may we become habitual at giving thanks.