“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
When I hear people talk about “practicing gratitude,” it always kind of makes me want to laugh out loud. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known and appreciated the benefits of saying “thank you” for most of my life but have sometimes struggled to grasp what it really means to practice gratitude. Loving to write as much as I do, I have tried writing each day in a gratitude journal and writing down my one thousand gifts gifts, while reading Ann’s incredible book, with my best girlfriend. In both instances I learned so much about myself and felt such peace. I learned that when I cultivate gratitude, I’m able to feel true joy and contentment, no matter my circumstances.
Maybe it’s being in a season of transition or the deeply unsettling events in our world but I have felt heavy. Fearful. Scared. Despite all that I’ve also felt more grateful for everything and everyone God has placed in my life. When I turn my focus to gratitude I experience a drastic perspective and mood shift. Gratitude is a game changer – it helps me see that what I have is better than what it is I may think I want. It reminds me that there is so much good in this world and so much to hope for.
So how am I practicing gratitude in this season?
I do three things every day:
- Start my day off with a prayer of praise – Before I get out of bed and grab Annie from her crib I spend those quiet moments thanking and praising God for His goodness. The way He has blessed me and the way He will bless me. I thank Him for another day to serve and love and breathe. I focus on the good, and thank Him for watching over us.
- Thank someone in my life – This is a step beyond the typical “thank you” and has taken on different forms, from a hand written note to a mentor to a super long text message of thankfulness to a dear friend.
- Appreciate the smallest blessings – This one forces me to slow down and appreciate the blessings I too often take for granted – a roof over my head, a fridge that is always full, a healthy family – and life’s tiny joys that sometimes go unappreciated – the smell of lavender, the sound of rain on a tin roof, the delicate way Taylor scratches Annie’s back when she’s sleepy.
How do you practice gratitude?