Four Obstacles to Gratitude

  When the Israelites turned to Him in their distress, God remembered His people and provided a deliverer for them. By saving them, God was claiming them as His people and extending an invitation for the Israelites to see themselves as His people. God was giving them a new identity. As they followed Moses through the desert (a place that creates thirst), here is how the Israelites responded: In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” – Exodus 16:2-3 They responded ungratefully. And this was not an isolated incident. When God provided bread, they complained of having no meat. When they wanted water, they complained about Moses. When Moses went to meet with God, they complained that he had abandoned them. God describes this as being stiff-necked. Their eyes were focused downward, on themselves, rather than being raised towards heaven, the source of their true identity. They had not surrendered their identity to God, and instead were still centered on self. The thirst that the desert revealed was for more of what they already had.  This is the source of ingratitude. And the false self throws up many obstacles to gratitude in its effort to be satisfied, including: Comparison – Looking to others for a measure of significance. Wanting what others have when that benefits you and drawing feelings of superiority when what you have is ‘better’....

Ronda Rousey and Identity

I don’t follow the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) and I’m not really a fan. But, it has been impossible not to be aware of who Ronda Rousey is. For some time she has been considered the greatest female fighter ever, was sporting an undefeated record, was making the crossover into acting and modeling, and there was even talk of trying to get her to fight a male opponent. The hype around her transcended the MMA world. Then she lost. Shockingly. Unexpectedly. And it was the talk of the sports media for weeks. Unknown to everyone but her inner circle (until recently), was the struggle that Ms. Rousey has had accepting this defeat. She was experiencing a dark night of the soul. And it gives a crystal clear picture of the power of source of identity. In a recent interview on the Ellen Show, Ronda said: I was literally sitting there and thinking about killing myself and that exact second I’m like, ‘I’m nothing, what do I do anymore and no one gives a s— about me anymore without this, This quote is from an article in the Huffington Post and it contains a video of Ellen’s interview (available here: caution there is some explicit language). When here invincible status was taken from her, notice her words. “I’m nothing” Her worth was gone and she was overtaken by shame, a feeling of worthlessness that had nothing to contradict it. The perception of self that Ms. Rousey had was affected by what she knew others would think. People would move on. When people’s affirmation of you is based on victory,...

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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