Not sure who originally said it, but it’s true: if you ain’t growing, you’re dying. And that sentiment applies to growing in gratitude as well. It’s just too easy to slide into a mindset of grumbling (on the inside or outwardly). Tough stuff happens everyday to everyone. The issue is our response and general attitude.
So I got to thinking about a series of ways that might strengthen our hearts of gratitude.
Step One: We need to review the spiritual lynchpins that under gird a mindset of thankfulness. First, we must learn to trust our heavenly father (Prov. 3:5-6). Whatever comes our way has been “father filtered.” Second, we remember the connection between a thankful heart and a sense of peace (Col. 3:15). Being grateful sets the stage for feeling peaceful.
Step Two: We need some tools to help retrain our mind and heart. A simple notebook can become a prized thanksgiving journal for yourself or your family. What a blessing to reread the notes and be reminded of God’s faithfulness. If a notebook isn’t your thing, consider using a “thankful box.” Try to put a note in every single day. Reread them a couple of times a year.
Step Three: We need to personalize our gratitude. Maybe make a list of everyone in our personal sphere of influence. Write their name down and then complete the sentence, “I am thankful for _____ because______.” I guarantee an attitude adjustment will ensue.
Step Four: Let’s set up a whole series of personal reminders, practical ways to remember God’s blessings and express our appreciation. Post-it-notes work for some. Signs around the house can work. Using music might be helpful. Consider making a list of songs on your favorite device that helps focus your mind on being thankful. Listen to it regularly.
Step Five: Let’s be intentional. Schedule a weekly “gratitude walk.” Make sure that your mind is only focused on letting the Lord know how appreciative you are for His blessings. Be specific. Or maybe we could put together a small photo album of our closest family and friends and use it on a regular basis to thank the Lord for their presence in our lives.
The bottom line this week is to remember that gratitude is a journey, not a destination. It should be a regular and specific part of our lives. It’s not optional. Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” But it does produce incredible results. Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcend all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Let’s all make it a point this week to be growing in gratitude!