Hmmm . . . I was recently asked to write a blog post on the Igniting Women website and answer the question of how I “practice thanksgiving and gratitude in my everyday life” and it got me to thinking . . .
How do I actually practice thanksgiving and gratitude?
I think I’m basically a grateful person, but maybe it’s not a big showy thing. I haven’t written a book on gratitude (but I like reading them, does that count?).
I haven’t posted long lists here of things I’m grateful for (although I write out those things in prayers in my journal).
I don’t sport a license plate that says: GR8TfUL!
I think my gratitude is a bit quieter than that.
I work at intentionally thanking others by simply voicing gratitude when I’m served: when my husband takes out the trash, when a waiter refills my water, when the checker sets a bag in my grocery cart, when a stranger holds a door open instead of slamming it in my face.
Saying “Thank you!” with a smile lets people know their thoughtfulness is appreciated.
I do the same thing with writing cards, letters, texts, or emails.
But the One who probably hears me say thank you the most, is the One I’m most grateful to.
I’m continually sending out breath-prayers of gratitude to Him throughout the day. Sometimes it’s for what others may think are small things, like the glimpse of the deer crossing the field to the woods outside my bedroom window. When that happens (and thankfully it’s pretty often), I thank the Father for bringing the deer by, it seems He knew I needed to see that sweet creature, and I thank Him.
The sky was scorching with the most vivid oranges and pinks this morning at sunrise, and I thanked Him for sharing that with me today.
He answered a specific request today, and I thanked Him.
I stepped into a shower of hot water, and I thanked Him. We live in a remote area, we have a well, and the water can be iffy sometimes . . . so every hot shower is a reason to be thankful.
This month is the anniversary of my father’s passing, and this morning I was thinking of him, missing him, and I thanked my Heavenly Father for giving me a good earthly dad.
My Internet issues were resolved today . . . and I thanked the Father.
While writing this blog post I got a text from a friend. When I first met her, she was in the early stages of repentance over her lesbian affair and working at rebuilding her marriage. That was several years ago. In her text tonight she was asking me to pray for her because tomorrow she’ll be teaching on “The God of Grace and Mercy” at the women’s Bible study at her church (the same church where she publicly repented of her sin).
When I read that text, I thanked the Father again for the amazing work He did in her life.
Yesterday, I stood with my church’s praise team while we spent some time in prayer before the service started. Several members in the group prayed, and as they prayed, I was silently thanking God for these precious individuals, and for His work in their lives.
And then my son, the bass player, prayed.
I noticed something as He prayed. Every single sentence in his prayer was filled with gratitude. He was pouring out a continual “thank you” to God for specific things, for specific works, for specific people. Tons of gratitude filled his prayer. He never once asked God for anything in that prayer, He just worshipped Him for all He’s done.
When he finished praying, I thanked the Father for a son who practices gratitude.
I’m not sure if I’ve answered the question adequately, but it’s got me thinking . . . I want to be a thankful person, I want to practice gratitude in a way that is infectious. I’ll be more on the alert now, being more intentional, watching for more opportunities to display gratitude. Because one thing is for sure, I don’t deserve the mercy and grace I’ve been given.
[box]“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe . . .” (Hebrews 12:28)[/box]
So, let me turn the tables now . . . How do YOU practice thanksgiving and gratitude in your daily life? I’d love to hear from you!