Gratitude is authentic when positioned in a relationship with God.
When we trust God, we get to see glimpses of gratitude even when we’re in life-shattering situations that feel destructive to us. In fact, we get to see gratitude in an authentic way that might not be as easily experienced in the season when life seems to be smooth or what we’d define as normal. The situations and experiences might be destructive to us, and we certainly don’t have to be grateful for that. Gratitude isn’t just finding something positive in a situation.
Some situations are absolutely poopy. While unpleasant, that’s a nice word for the experience of the stench and disgusting aftermath of some of the stuff we have to deal with through life. And I know about poopy stenches. I grew up on a farm, which included hogs. I was a super dooper pooper scooper (because one of the upsides to scooping poop is solitude, since no one else really wants to do it). I know about poopy situations. My ex announced he wanted out of the marriage after two and a half decades together and a good life—no conversations, no counseling, no respect for me, family, or friends. Just done. That was poopy. And I was in no mood to be a super dooper pooper scooper. I felt like someone had backed up with a dump truck loaded with poop (in a faulty truck that rudely didn’t even have one of those back up warning beepers connected, so I didn’t know it was coming), and buried me in disgustingness.
A bit too gross for you? It was for me, too.
Yet gratitude was still an option. I could choose it or not. We all can. Authentic gratitude is available in every situation of our lives, but we have to be willing to seek it in the upside down and the rightside up of our lives. True gratitude is not found in the stories of our lives we tell ourselves but in the actual story of our lives. Upside down gratitude is not dependent on situation or feelings. It’s not dependent on our control, goals, or results. It resides far deeper.