Help in Our Life's Journey
Updated: Sep 8
By Audrey Hoover
Like most of my family, I am a bit stubborn. Adaptable, yes, but when I make up my mind to do something, there is little chance of stopping me. This may be a good thing, but it often interferes with my relationships with others. Growing up, I always had a very independent I-can-do-this-on-my-own mindset. Because of that, I would hesitate to ask for help, wishing for my peers to perceive me as strong and capable. When someone did something in my favor or gave me a gift, I struggled with being grateful. Over recent years, however, I observed this character trait and decided to try and fix it with God's help.
The adjective “grateful” is defined as “warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received,” and various studies have shown that an “attitude of gratitude” has benefits, not only psychological, but also physiological. (Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377–389. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1687)
I wish to point out another word in the definition of gratitude: appreciation. There are many kinds of gratitude and copious ways to show them, but I find one of the most overlooked is that of appreciating others.
As a 2018 study shows us, a simple expression of appreciation encourages others as we are instructed to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT): “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
I find that the purpose for this is not only to boost someone up, but also to teach us a lesson. Notice that during most award events, graduations, and grand openings there will be at least a few speeches given by one or more people. The meat of those presentations is often gratitude to those who have helped the person or organization to grow and improve. When we look for ways to show appreciation to others, we are identifying who has helped us to be the person we have become. Our accomplishments would not have been possible without the voluntary aid of someone else, and it was not merely our own effort. This is definitely a great way to keep us humble!
I would not be the person I am today if my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends, teachers, and pastors had never come into my life. Everything I know comes from their great knowledge, and no one could ever replace that influence on my growth. They never gave up on me even when I wasn’t grateful or appreciative of their help.
Who has helped you along your life’s journey? It may be someone you would never even think of! Have you shown your appreciation towards them? How can you impact them in return?