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Gratitude to Grumbling: How Long Does it Take a Perspective to Change?

I was out for a walk on a glorious day. It was going to be a scorcher, but it was early, and the temperature was perfect. The flowers seemed to be elaborately arrayed in all their colorful splendor. The birds were singing, the sky was blue, and I was happy to have successfully carved out the time for this opportunity.

Flowering trees and bushes: Gratitude to Grumbling: How Long Does it Take a Perspective to Change?
Living Color

I took over 17,000 steps, thanking God, blissfully unaware that my gratitude was about to turn to grumbling. Have you ever wondered how long it takes a perspective to change completely? I have discovered the answer. It takes about the same amount of time it takes a bike wheel to rotate 25 times. This is how it happened.

I had come to a steep incline in my walking route. I began to climb it, step by step, when I heard a noise and looked back to see what it was. There were three people coming up behind me on bicycles. One of them had paper in the wheel, which had caused the sound.

A paved hill going up: Gratitude to Grumbling: How Long Does it Take a Perspective to Change?
Steep Incline

I immediately felt gratitude that I was not on a bike, trying to conquer the hill. I was tired from walking, but in my experience, it was nothing compared to the fatigue of biking up a grade like this. I had it easy today!

As the bikers came up and past me, something was amiss. There was not a drop of perspiration on them. They were moving quickly, and yet they weren’t leaning into their pedals at all.

Most bikers in their situation would have been huffing and puffing and straining against the hill’s gravity. Maybe one would have managed an acknowledging grunt in my direction. But these folks were sitting on the seats with perfectly straight posture, casually pumping their legs and smiling and waving at me.

What on earth? Finally, as the third bike passed me by, I heard it. It was ever so faint, but there was the hum of a motor. I had never seen a bike like those before. They were self-propelled!

A paved hill going down: Gratitude to Grumbling: How Long Does it Take a Perspective to Change?
Looong Hill

Suddenly, my perspective changed. My plight seemed so strenuous in comparison. I had to trudge all the way up on my own strength. The hill seemed larger and steeper in my grumbling state of mind than it had in my gratitude, although of course, its size was the same.

It immediately struck me how the power of suggestion can have a very real effect on our psyche. When I compared my situation to one I thought was more difficult, I felt energetic and grateful. But when I perceived my circumstance to be the less enviable one, I became grumpy and depleted of strength. My position hadn’t changed but my perspective sure had!

Once I realized this, I had to admit how susceptible I was. I returned my focus to thanking God for this glorious walk and that I had the time and ability to enjoy it. How long does it take a perspective to change? It took the same amount of time to go from grumbling to gratitude as it had the other way around.

Peaches growing on a tree: Gratitude to Grumbling: How Long Does it Take a Perspective to Change?
Fresh Summer Fruit, Ripe for the Pickin’

There was a quote I once read that said something to the effect of:

“If we all threw our problems in a heap and saw everyone else’s, we’d take ours back.”

When we think we have a bunch to grumble about, we would do well to immediately start listing all that we have to be grateful for. Considering my experience, we may only have as much time as it takes a bike wheel to rotate 25 times before our perspective changes for better or for worse. And even when we have legitimate reasons to grumble, if we realize that we’d choose ours over others, we can still be grateful.

So, friends, how are you? Is there anything you’re grumbling or grateful about that you’re willing to share? We’re all in this together, as the saying goes. How do things look from your current perspective?

13 replies on “Gratitude to Grumbling: How Long Does it Take a Perspective to Change?”

No grumbling today but yesterday I was at it. Our gas had been turned for over the weekend and I was a little mad at my husband because he could hook it up but waited till later that evening. I kept dropping hints, he kept ignoring me. I became sharp in my answers to his questions, yes I was totally frustrated. I was grumbling underneath some hidden agenda questions. God finally got through to me with these words, I” am enough…I knew He meant He was enough no matter if I had gas or not. At my age it shouldn’t take so long to get through to my deceitful heart but sometimes I am so slow because I do not want to hear Him. Very good post.

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Thank you for sharing! I know how grumbling can fester under our breath! What a beautiful thing you heard from the Lord. And I love how He said it while you were still grumbling. He didn’t leave you to turn that around on your own. He reminded you of the truth you needed so you could be grateful again. Like while we were yet sinners and He died for us! (Rom. 5:8) He walks this life with us and gives us the way of escape every time we need it. (1 Cor . 1:13) We just need to be willing to take it. 🧡 Have a great day, Betty!

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Hi, Mamalava. A friend once told me not to make comparisons. If someone is worse, it leads to pride; if they are better, it leads to discouragement. Now, if I can just remember this advice as your blog advises!! Keep me in your prayers, too. 😉 c.a.

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Maybe you can “assist” the pedals? The people riding them definitely were rotating their legs, their feet going around with the pedals. But they were not sweating or appearing to be working much. It would be a nicer way to bike to work! I never liked the idea because I didn’t want to arrive all grimy. I wonder if their little motors pass clean air emissions standards, lol!

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