So often we go through our days in a blind hurry and the difficulties are the things that quickly capture our attention. Gratitude is something to cultivate – to practice as a discipline to make it part of every day. Having an attitude of gratitude is all about how we go about choosing to interpret the facts and circumstances of our lives. We each make “thought choices” daily that will either turn us into bitter or grateful people.
We get a clue from the Bible on how to cultivate the attitude of gratitude from Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. This little verse doesn’t say to “be happy about all the tough stuff of life.” It tells us to BE joyful … to pray … and to give thanks (BE grateful). Being grateful helps us BE joyful always – no matter what – and we do that by releasing our life’s cares to God in prayer (continually).
Here are 8 suggestions to help you cultivate gratitude:
- Keep a gratitude journal, jotting down the things you are thankful for throughout each day – especially noticing what you have been given you did not deserve
- First thing every morning, thank the Lord for his presence in your life
- Choose to receive everything you have as a “gift” rather than as something for which you believe you are entitled
- Treasure and value the people in your life by thanking them often and clearly for who they are (not just for what they do)
- End every day by saying thank you to God for at least one thing
- Look for God in each hardship … discover evidence of his presence and ask him to help you find something in the midst of the hardship for which to thank him
- Curb your tendency to be critical by capturing those thoughts and switching them to something for which to be grateful
- Sing praises to God – you can’t sing a praise song and grumble at the same time!
– Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist