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Something to think and pray about this week

Gratitude, of course, cannot be forced.

“You should be grateful,” we growl at our kids, as they limply move the food around on their plates. “Do you know how many children in the world go to bed hungry? They would be overjoyed to have a dinner like that.” Somehow this doesn’t make the braised eggplant any more appetizing, at least to the children who sit around my dinner table.

We know that gratitude can’t be forced, of course, but we still find ourselves trying to coerce our kids to be more grateful. And we do the same to ourselves, too.

We’re aware that we have so much to be grateful for: my children’s lives, a ready supply of food and water, cozy and secure homes. We enjoy these “basics”—and countless luxuries besides—while so many people in the world struggle just to survive the day. We secretly chide ourselves: I should be more grateful. But try as we may, we’re just not feeling it. We wonder if there’s something wrong with us.

Is my heart hardened somehow? Is it really not such a great gift to have these needs met? Will I ever feel content and satisfied?

- Excerpted from Wholehearted Living by Jennifer Grant