November is known to be the month of thankfulness, and I love reflecting on the blessings in my life, but I don’t think it should be exclusive to Thanksgiving time. Gratitude is a trait we should adopt in our daily lives, and today we are going to talk about why gratitude works, what it does, and how to begin your own gratitude journal and journey.
Gratitude means, “the quality of being thankful; a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” I think this sounds like a nice quality to have, don’t you? Did you know God calls us to gratitude in all times and all circumstances? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
It doesn’t say give thanks when you feel like it. It doesn’t say give thanks only when things are going well. It doesn’t even say give thanks when you have a praise report in your prayer requests. It says to give thanks in ALL circumstances. That means when the going is tough. That means when you can’t see past your hardship. That means when your feelings don’t dictate a thanks. God wants us to praise Him in the storm and praise Him in the victory.
Here are some tips to consider before you start journaling your gratitudes:
- Pick three areas you want to focus on most. Is there anything that you are finding annoying in your life or places you just aren’t finding joy? Maybe start with those and see if you can’t change those annoyances into blessings.
- Be specific about the gratitude you’re writing down. Don’t just say, “My kids got along yesterday.” What did they do? Was there something specific? Maybe they sat and played a board game together for an hour, and you were grateful they were off electronics that long.
- Make your gratitudes about the day before. Don’t try to go too far into the past. Stick with your yesterday and find the good there.
- Don’t skip a category any of the days. I know sometimes it’s hard to come up with something, especially on those trying days, but if you dig deep enough, you will find something you’re grateful for. For example, I Amy have had a hard day with my husband and not liked him very much. Rather than skipping writing something that I’m grateful for, I will choose a character trait that I love about him, such as, “He always seems to find the good in me, even when I’m not the nice version of myself.” Here’s the kicker to that: It’s hard to stay mad at someone you just wrote something nice about.
- Be consistent. Don’t miss a day. When you are feeling like you don’t want to do it is when you need to do it most. I promise you, it will lift your spirits almost immediately!
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