As a country girl, I’m also particularly aware that fall is harvest season, and that this time of year and thankfulness go hand-in-hand. But you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to dive into gratitude.
My Son’s Heart of Gratitude
In fact, it was a hot day in August when my son Kai reminded me of this. Just before school started, the kids and I were getting a little bit bored and crazy. So we drove to a nearby town with an exciting playground, and it ended up being pretty perfect. It wasn’t crowded, there were huge shade trees and some cloud cover, and my kids loved exploring different playground equipment.
That’s when Kai discovered he could climb this ladder without any help from me.
He was SO proud. And the first thing out of his mouth was,
“God helped me do it!”
It makes a mama’s heart soar to hear something like this from your kiddo. But he didn’t say this because I coached him to or repeated it on a regular basis. Kai acknowledged God’s help because he has childlike faith; the kind that Jesus himself told grown-ups to have.
I could use a little more of that faith.
Do you know the story of the time Jesus healed ten lepers at once? Out of ten people that Jesus radically transformed in an instant–not just their skin, but their non-existent social status and isolated way of life–only ONE thanked him. They received their wildest hope and greatest wish, but 90% of the group didn’t think to express any gratitude for it.
I wonder sometimes how I’d respond if I’d been one of the healed lepers. The odds aren’t good that I’d remember to thank Jesus for what he’s done. And that kind of scares me.
Faith over fear, right? My heart is naturally inclined to give thanks to God, but I want to be intentional about having a constant attitude of gratitude (you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?). I want to recognize God at all times, even when things aren’t how I want them to be.I want to recognize God at all times, even when things aren't how I want them to be. #gratitude Click To Tweet
It’s actually God’s will for me that I give thanks in all circumstances. (1 Th. 5:13) How great is that? God wants me to live from a grateful world view. He wants me to see His hand in my life and to feel peace and happiness about it!
He wants that for all of us. So I sat down and thought of a really simple three-step process for increasing thankfulness in your heart.
3 Key Steps to Growing in Gratitude
1. Take Stock of the Good Things
I love this verse:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17, NIV
It’s so simple. Think of the good things you’ve received in your life and focus on them.
Some people do this through a gratitude journal, which I’ve never tried but sounds so fantastic. Another way you can be reminded of the good things is to put a list of the blessings in your life on a wall in your home, or on your phone where you can see it every day.
2. Give Thanks
Of course, the most obvious way to give thanks is to express it in prayers. So pray out your thanks to God daily.
Attending church, giving a tithe, worshiping God in song, and sharing with those in need are just a few common ways to show your gratitude. Be intentional, and focus your thoughts and heart on blessing God.
3. Remember What He’s Done
Looking over the course of your life and remembering everything God’s done for you is essential to a grateful heart. Beyond today’s simple gifts, your journey has been showered with blessings and guidance.
There are so many passages in the Bible about having perspective and recognizing God’s hand in our lives. Here’s one…
Make sure you obey every command I’m giving you today. Then you will live, and there will be many of you. You will enter the land and take it as your own. It’s the land the Lord promised to your people of long ago. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way. He guided you in the desert for these 40 years.
Deuteronomy 8:1-2 NIRV (emphasis mine)
I know if you increase the thankfulness you show in your daily life, you'll see a difference. Every little victory will have you announcing, "God helped me do it!" especially if that victory is something like taking the time to read a good book in between diaper changes.
That's where I'm at in life right now, and despite the challenges, I'm so glad. These days with my little ones won't last long!
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work.
1 Timothy 1:12, NLT
My son Kai has taught me a lot about having faith. I could probably sum it all up with this: have the heart of a child. Do some challenging things so you keep growing. And boldly shout out your delight when God helps you with little and big things alike.
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