Okay, I’ll admit it, I wasn’t feeling very thankful.
In my defense, I was pregnant and my raging hormones were definitely affecting my attitude. It seems silly in retrospect, but there I was standing in our closet grumbling to myself as I moved Rev’s suit jackets and dress pants from wire hangers back to the more appropriate suit hangers.
It’s kind of funny when I think about it now, especially considering all the parenting tasks that were ahead but…
That day, all I could think about was having to do something I’d reminded him about multiple times before. Doesn’t everyone know a suit loses its shape and wrinkles if it’s not hanging on a suit hanger?
But then, right there in the middle of my grumbling, I heard the still quiet voice of the Lord whisper…
“Would you prefer he wasn’t here?”
God has blessed me with an amazing man. I have so many reasons to be thankful for him.
I don’t believe God’s words were a threat. They were a reminder to love first. And those six words have remained in my heart and mind forever. God gently helped me realize that . . . I could celebrate who Rev is and all the blessings he brings to my life or I can grumble about little things like hangers. I could build him up or tear him down. Choosing to “Love First” is a decision we make every day.
Because, the truth is…
LOVING FIRST by SHOWING GRATITUDE is a CHOICE YOU MAKE EVERY DAY
You and I are faced with gratitude choices every day. We can choose to focus on ourselves and grumble when the people around us aren’t meeting our expectations or we can focus on ways we are blessed by and through them and show them gratitude.
So, I’ve compiled a list of 50 ways to make gratitude part of every day. Ways to bless our families, our communities, and the world around us. There are even a few ways you and I can thank God Himself. The Lord placed us where we are for a reason and the best way to show gratitude to Him is to live boldly with gratitude right where we are!
One of my favorite verses on living with gratitude is…
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.Colossians 3:16b–17
And a favorite gratitude quote…
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” ~Henri Frederic Amiel
So let’s check out that list:
50 Ways to Make Gratitude a Part of Every Day
Start with Gratitude at Home:
- Make a Gratitude Jar or Board – Have your family fill the jar or make notes on the board of all the reasons they are thankful for each other.
- Have a “Do Something for Someone Challenge” – It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just encourage everyone in your family to look for ways to do something nice each day without having to be asked.
- Write a thank-you note to a family member telling them why you appreciate them.
- Go around the table at dinner and have each person name a way someone in the family blessed them that day.
- Make an “Our Family Thank You” Song or Saying – Have fun with this. Make up a “thank you” song to sing or sentence to repeat that’s unique to your family. (We simply tell each other . . . “I thank the Lord for you!”
- Do little things you know speaks a loved one’s Love Language . . . something you know will make them feel loved and appreciated.
- Take time to listen to understand not just to reply.
- Do your best to be patient even when life is crazy or chaotic.
- Forgive each other quickly.
- Take an interest in a family member’s hobby or passion.
- Make saying “thank you” a priority before a gift can be used. Send a snail mail note or make a video and send it to the gift giver.
- Set aside a time to enjoy a date night with your spouse as often as possible. Even if you just set aside time for the two of you at home after the kids have gone to bed.
- Have one on one time with each child at least once a month.
- Find the humor in life and LAUGH OFTEN!
- PRAY for family members at home and away.
- Talk about what they learned from a bad situation and how they might end up being thankful for it.
- Make a small handmade gift or card.
- When you’re angry – stop, breathe, and pray before you speak.
- Make home a no insult zone – not even in humor.
- Compliment each other more than you complain.
Thank Your Friends and People in Your Community
- Call or send a note to thank a friend just for being there for you.
- Donate food, unused clothes, toys, and household items to help those in need.
- Serve at a shelter or senior center.
- Carry “Homeless Care Kits” to give to someone in need. (Include toothpaste, a toothbrush, tissues, lip balm, hand wipes, a bottle of water, and a granola bar.)
- Let your children see you show gratitude to those who help you. – Servers, trash collectors, checkers, receptionists, etc.
- Take a prayer walk in your neighborhood.
- Donate blood to save a life.
- Teach a skill, language, or hobby at your community center.
- Help a neighbor – babysit, cut the grass, shovel the walk, cook a meal, etc.
- Invite someone to join your holiday celebration. – I have a friend who does this and says that an added benefit is it puts everyone on their best behavior.
- Help your children write a thank you note to babysitters, teachers, and pastors and pray for them.
- Smile at strangers -“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~Mother Teresa (Even with masks . . . Smile! It makes your eyes sparkle.)
Offer Gratitude and Kindness Around the World
- Sponsor a child through World Vision or Compassion Int.
- Pack a Shoe Box for Operation Christmas Child.
- Write a thank you note to a someone serving in the military – get ideas here.
- Pray for those serving in missions.
- Help a missionary with financial support.
- Join Samaritan’s Purse Prayer Network.
- Recycle and conserve energy . . . take care of the earth.
- Go on a mission trip.
Thank and Praise God
- Make a list of family blessings and thank and praise God together.
- Read a Psalm and give thanks. (Try Psalm 34, 100, 111, or 150)
- Live thankful today – let go of the past and don’t worry about tomorrow.
- Love and serve the people God has placed in your life.
- Find 10 more ways to thank God here.
Be Someone Who Shows Gratitude Everywhere Every Day
- Always be honest and kind.
- Be complimentary and encouraging.
- Offer grace – don’t expect perfection.
- Notice people – make eye contact.
- See everyone you meet as someone dearly loved and precious to God.
And just for fun!
♥ Tell someone, “You bless me!
I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.1 Corinthians 1:4
Another reason to count our blessings and live with gratitude.
If the World were 100 People
If we looked at the earth’s population as if it were a small community of 100 people, it would look something like this…
- 50 Male
- 50 Female
- 32 are Christian
- 53 are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, or Other Religion
- 15 Identify as Not Religious
- 24 Always have enough food to eat
- 16 Go hungry some of the time
- 34 Always hungry
- 26 Severely undernourished
- 60 can’t speak, act according to their faith and conscience due to harassment, imprisonment, torture or death
- 40 live in a country designated as “free”
- 12 live in a war zone
EDUCATION & TECHNOLOGY:
- 83 can read 17 cannot
- 7 have a college degree
- 22 own or share a computer
- 10 live on less than $2 a day
- 50 live on about $6 a day
- 1 of 2 children live in poverty
- 33 live without basic sanitation
- 75 easily have access to safe water, 25 do not or spend much of the day walking to get it
If you keep your food in a refrigerator and your clothes in a closet…
If you have a bed to sleep in and have a roof over your head…
If you have people who care about you…
You are abundantly blessed. I am too! May we faithfully thank and praise God by showing our gratitude and love every day . . . to Him and to the people He has placed around us.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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