13 Nov, 2023 TEEN OPINION: Choosing GRATITUDE over GRUMBLING
By Teen Opinion Contributor Maggie Verdught
I have been reveling in the beauty of autumn lately.
There’s something about the ambiance of fall and its blessings that push me to express my thankfulness to God. Leaves changing color, yummy food, and the beautiful weather during morning runs are just a few of the things I’m thankful for this season. This time of year is meant to inspire our hearts to take a posture of gratitude.
My cross-country coach this season would frequently remind us to “be present” and think of things we are grateful for, before and after meets. He emphasized gratitude in our training. Why? Because it is essential to have a big-picture mindset in training and racing – you are not defined by your performance, and there are so many things to be thankful for! Therefore, don’t freak out about your race, and know that it’s going to be okay.
God is good, and He never changes. He gives and takes away, and when our human minds don’t understand why things have been taken, we must have faith and trust that He knows what He’s doing. He doesn’t leave us hanging, either– God gave us His Word, which details the many, many things He has done for His people. This shows us His faithfulness.
Our trust in God enables us to have gratitude even in life’s hardest seasons. And also in easier seasons! Life seems to move by so quickly, and I find myself trying to stay afloat in the busyness, straining to see the big picture. I struggle with my own sin deeply and wonder why I can’t fix things. I forget that only God can, and He is more than able to satisfy my every need. Big-picture gratitude keeps the long-term in mind as we recognize the blessings God has given us in our lives.
Think about, in your own life, how often you prioritize worry over gratitude. My mom was actually reminding me of this yesterday! I was verbally expressing my worries about my schedule this week, and quickly started to spiral into “freak out mode,” anxious that I wouldn’t be able to handle everything. But my mom reminded me to take life one step at a time, knowing that worry doesn’t fix anything. Your grumbling isn’t going to help you or fix any problems. Additionally, it’s a sin! God doesn’t want us to worry about anything, but to come to Him. Actually, I know that God wants us to come to Him no matter what happens. We should always be running towards His open arms waiting for us, exclaiming with joy because of our gratitude.
It’s worthwhile to think about this and take time to recognize your priorities in life. Have some of those priorities become idols? Is there something you need to confess to God in your heart? Think about some ways in which you can implement gratitude into your own life. We have so many luxuries and blessings we take for granted every day– so many things to thank God for in the midst of everything. Gratitude is worthy of becoming a priority in our lives.
Our culture believes in the lie of self-entitlement – you deserve what you desire. However, the Bible shares the truth, which is that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) We deserve nothing but God’s wrath, as we are terrible sinners. But God— rich in His mercy, saved us from this wrath. He not only gave us mercy but grace. He is worthy of our praise simply because of who He is, and in addition to praise, we worship Him as well, for all the great things He has done for us.
I am convicted every time I hear the Gospel and continually need to hear it presented to me! I love listening at church, and really, we all need to be reminded of the Gospel, daily, because it is our reason for living. Jesus’ mission is our mission, too, and as we become more like him, it is right that we remember and are grateful for all he has done for us. This connects with “big-picture gratitude”– in that we are thinking long-term, looking outside ourselves and the material world around us. Eternal gratitude is part of that; as we are reminded of the Gospel, we let our gratitude inspire joy in our hearts, flowing outward in our lives to be seen by others. I heard a quote once that said something like, “The best gift you can give someone is a good example.” And it is true that your example to others matters a lot! I know I am constantly noticing and observing others, especially people older than me. You will be a better example to others when you have a mindset focused on pleasing God, with thankfulness in your heart for what He has done.
Psalm 100 has some beautiful truths that we should take to heart in this season of Thanksgiving. Here are verses 3 and 4: “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”
We truly have so much to be thankful for.
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
Maggie VerDught is a high school student who enjoys learning about culture, news, and politics.
She is passionate about sharing the truth, especially with her generation. Maggie loves to run, read, and write poetry in her spare time.
Download Our New Counter Culture Mom App to get our trending news and pop culture alert notifications. Connect with other parents in the Parent Chat section to gain helpful ideas on how to counteract the Pop Culture Cult!
Be sure to contact us if there is an issue you would like to have us write about! Our mission is to help parents deal with today’s lifestyle trends and how to biblically navigate them.