Do you know someone who is habitually thankful? A person who just oozes gratitude?
They’re a blessing, aren’t they?
There have been so many posts are articles written about gratitude this month online and in print but I can’t help but wonder whether we’ll all just move on as we turn the calendar page tomorrow.
As I started the month, I challenged you to change your life by Counting 7 Blessings a Day for the rest of the year. You can even make it a family project. I’d love to hear how it’s going for you. And if you haven’t started yet . . . it’s not too late. Here’s a list of questions to help you. Click the graphic for a printable version.
Now as I prepare to move to the last topic of the year, I’ve realized I can pare the month’s messages down to 5 important truths.
5 of the Most Important Things I Learned about Gratitude
1. Gratitude is a choice.
Grateful people don’t wait until they get what they want to be thankful. They choose to celebrate what they have. Even when life is hard . . . there are always things to celebrate with thankfulness.
“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are steeped in hurt. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of complaint. There is the option to look into the eyes of the One who came out to search for me and see therein that all I am and all I have is pure gift calling for gratitude.” ~Henri Nouwen
2. Gratitude puts other people first.
Grateful people want other people to know they are appreciated not only for what they do but for who they are. They think less about themselves and want to bless others as they have been blessed.
“But to mean it when I say that I want my life to count for His glory is to drive a stake through the heart of self – a painful and determined dying to me that must be a part of every day I live.” ~Louie Giglio
3. Gratitude will make you happier.
Grateful people focus on what is more than what isn’t. That simple act alone makes a person happier. And happy appreciative people have better relationships, are more successful at work, feel better physically and mentally, and generally cope with life better than their counterparts. Seriously, you could almost be grateful for selfish reasons! Gratitude is good for you!
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” ~Denis Waitley
4. Gratitude is easier than you think.
Grateful people express thankfulness in simple habit-forming ways every day. They say please and thank you as soon as possible. They are encouragers who compliment more than they complain. If you need ideas of ways to make gratefulness part of each day, this will help . . . 50 Ways to Show Gratitude to the People in Your Life.
“Every person has the power to make others happy. Some do it simply by entering a room others by leaving the room. Some individuals leave trails of gloom; others, trails of joy. Some leave trails of hate and bitterness; others, trails of love and harmony. Some leave trails of cynicism and pessimism; others trails of faith and optimism. Some leave trails of criticism and resignation; others trails of gratitude and hope. What kind of trails do you leave?” ~William Arthur Ward
5. Gratitude defeats entitlement.
Grateful people are humble about what they have not puffed up about what they believe they deserve. The interesting thing is it’s impossible to enjoy any amount of lasting happiness with an entitlement attitude. So kick entitlement to the curb, be thankful, and get happy. If you want to know more . . . click here.
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude, therefore, takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.” ~Thomas Merton
Bonus – Gratitude is a powerful way to communicate, “I love you!”
Grateful people respond with both words and actions to God’s love by not only saying “thank you” and singing His praises but by loving and appreciating the people God puts around them. When you love someone you can’t help but show them
“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.” ~John Henry Jowett
Counting My Blessings and Getting Happy
Rev has a saying he uses when he finds himself being dragged down by the difficulties of the day. It’s a phrase he started saying when he had constrictive pericarditis and lived a little more than a year with all the symptoms of congestive heart failure.
The saying goes like this…
“If I wait until I feel good and life looks perfect to be thankful and happy, I may never be thankful and happy again.”
It’s so simple and so very true.
When all I can think about is what’s wrong in my life . . . I’m robbed of joy, peace, contentment and so much more. BUT when I praise and thank God, when I live with joy, and when I express gratitude freely . . . I shine the light of God’s love which is always greater than my circumstances.
So, I will continue to count my blessings and thank the One who gives me immeasurable reasons to be thankful every day.
And one last quote from William Arthur Ward.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward
May gratitude become a joy-filled habit for each of us.
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