The past several months I’ve decided that I needed to cultivate gratitude. I found too many negative thoughts swirling around from situations I couldn’t control and certainly wasn’t going to be nominated to be the designated fixer any time soon.
Life is overwhelming, the world seems out of control and sometimes my heart just hurts from all the sadness and brokenness in our planet.
I realized that I could be a Negative Nelly if I’m not careful.
This isn’t who I really want to be AT ALL!
Months ago my cultivating turned into a nightly ritual. Being a visual person, I like creative ways to be intentional especially when God has gently prodded me about something I need to change.
As I slip under my feather comforter each night, I posture myself to touch each of my five fingers. Moving over each finger on my hand, I name what I am grateful for that day. As days have turned into weeks and weeks into month a subtle slow transformation has taken place in the crevice of my soul. Negative Nelly and her thoughts have been shoved out and replaced by a new resident bringing a thought of thankfulness.
I find myself looking at the world differently.
Even on a hard day, windows of opportunity present themselves and gratitude seeps through built on previous days of practice.
It’s amazing when gratitude makes it way from an occasional moment to a ritual where you can’t go to sleep without naming at least one or two things to be grateful for. It is like taking vitamins for the soul. It keeps us healthy and changes our perspective.
I’ve read realms about how gratitude can change us, change physical and emotional health, change a perspective and well, change just about everything when it comes to how we approach life. Here’s an article to prove I am not exaggerating.
Gratitude is the sweet balm to a broken heart and that is exactly what I’ve discovered.
Part of the journey of healing is detecting that embracing gratitude to the fullest is the best pathway to wholeness.
There was a time several years back that I believed my heart could never be whole again.
It was too bruised, too wounded, too betrayed and too weary.
Jesus has changed all of this as I’ve surrendered slowly and unwilling at times allowing Him to be my teaching healer on the journey. His ways are perfect and his timing is impeccable.
As we approach American Thanksgiving this week, my heart is bursting with gratitude and it has taken me by surprise of how it is trickling out in the moments of my day. I believe it is because the ritual of gratitude has transformed me with the notice that my heart is healing.
I don’t know what circumstances you might be facing right now and to be reminded to be thankful might just bounce off a heart of cynicism.
Don’t worry, it’s okay. I’ve been right there.
And don’t hate me for this next sentence… but gratitude isn’t an option if you are a Jesus follower. We are instructed to be thankful.
Yes, always, and in everything, and it’s true.
Does it mean we live in denial or delusion? Of course not! Somewhere in the midst of our circumstances we have to find a place to hold gratitude in our heart besides the good, bad and the ugliness of life. The only way I know how to do that is not by myself. I have to ask God to help me.
If he has commanded me to be thankful then He will make a way to do the impossible even in a hard situation. If you heart is cynical, try Him. Ask God and see what happens.
In the meantime, I pray that there will be a moment this week in between family gatherings and chaotic Black Friday shopping where thankfulness catches you and inspires you to want more gratitude in your life.
I encourage, no, I challenge you to give daily gratitude a try for 30 days every night. You can borrow my ritual or create one of your own and I guarantee that your tired heart will be different at the end of 30 days and you won’t want it to end. Here is some inspiration to start and Happy Thanksgiving!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6