by Priscilla Lack
A genuine outlook of gratitude is healing, but the development of this trait can be a process.
Some schools of thought describe gratitude as an emotion. It’s true, when we feel gratitude, we find a deeper heart connection – it becomes a more meaningful experience.
In certain situations, we might pretend to be grateful because it’s the thing to do, but in our hearts we are resentful. We may try to mask our dreads and regrets with a smile.
Other times, we may be working through a difficult loss or we’re dealing with sudden insurmountable odds. In those seasons, it can be hard to be thankful when we are feeling distant from anything hopeful. Even so, as we continue our journeys in life, we often see the benefits of having a grateful heart.
Developing gratitude is one of the ways to reconnect to our heart. This type of gratefulness doesn’t ignore the reality of our feelings or what we may be facing. It also doesn’t mean we stop taking care of ourselves. But many of us have found that heartfelt gratitude fosters hope and faith for a better day. Gratitude can even change the course of our lives for the better.
Here are a few tips for cultivating gratitude:
- We reflect with appreciation … all the times God helped us in the past. We believe that He will help us again.
- We remember that we have choices. We let go of the things we can’t control, putting them into the Lord’s hands.
- We see Jesus with an abundance mentality. There’s plenty of His goodness and His gifts to go around; therefore, we don’t need to compare ourselves with others or become tempted to envy. We become thankful for what we have been given.
- We take time to worship in song, preferably with other people. Singing can break us out of our restricted mindsets because it helps widen our perspective.
- We give back. We find ways to contribute and bless others with acts of kindness.
- We express our gratitude to those who’ve impacted our lives.
Over the years, I’ve known people who have devastating stories but they found a place of acceptance. As seasoned journeyers, they learned to look back on the ruins of their life and acknowledge what they walked through. With the Lord’s help, they pulled the unexpected treasure out of it and later found genuine gratefulness. The devastation didn’t disappear, but they were able to make amends and find God’s peace. In time, they welcomed the art of giving back because they were thankful for how the Lord healed them.
All of us have a story and most of us know how difficult life can be at certain times. We too, may find that gratitude and giving back refreshes our heart in ways we hadn’t thought possible.
Time and again, thankfulness and giving back open the way for the Lord to move us forward in areas of life we may have been stuck in. This can even be a valuable way to express kindness to ourselves. When we value who God has made us to be and what He’s given to us, reaching out to love our neighbor as ourselves becomes much more meaningful and heartfelt.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 136:1)
© 2023; Priscilla Lack, all rights reserved; photo courtesy of Unsplash.com