By: Emily Conley
We know practicing gratitude can make us happier, healthier, more empathetic, make friends more easily, and even sleep better. But can it also make us better advocates for life, marriage and family, and the freedom to live our faith?
Especially this Thanksgiving, I find myself wondering how to be truly grateful when so much evil is taking place all around the world.In the face of vast tragedies and hardships, it seems almost wrong to stop and be thankful for my blessings, blessings that so many others don’t share.
But, New York Times best-selling author Ann Voskamp explains in her Q Talk, “Known By Our Gratitude,” that gratitude is especially critical in times like this. “Lifestyle gratitude,” as she calls it, not only makes us more resilient to hardships in our own lives and more willing to help others, it’s essential to defeating the rampant evil around us.
As she poetically puts it in her talk, trying to force out the darkness is like trying to dig ourselves out of a hole. By practicing gratitude, we can reflect and amplify the light – and the light drives out the darkness.
“Gratitude starts movements. Real gratitude doesn’t make you apathetic; it makes you a real activist.”
If we hope to make a positive impact, we must practice gratitude far beyond listing one thing we’re thankful for around the Thanksgiving table. It goes far beyond Thanksgiving Day. The world needs us to act, not out of fear, but out of compassion. The world needs us to give out of radical generosity, to reject the myth of scarcity.
And as Ann said, “If Jesus chooses gratitude as elemental in destroying evil, do you have a better weapon against the dark?”
For responses to weekly questions like “How Much Is Enough?”and “Is Faith Still Valuable to Public Life?” visit Q Ideas.