November is the month we take to focus on what we have to be grateful for. We fill our Facebook walls with “Today I’m thankful for…” posts. We make thankful trees. We go around the table and each says what we are thankful for. We make a practice of gratitude for 30 days each year.
But what if we made a practice of gratitude for 365 days each year?
How would our lives change if each day we chose to practice gratitude for the blessings, both big and small, we enjoy in our lives?
Gratitude would become a habit instead of what we felt when
everything went our way.
Gratitude would become a conditioned response.
Gratitude would become a constant friend reminding us the little blessings are there if only we will open our eyes to see.
Gratitude would become a catalyst for joy no matter how dark the day is.
This is what I am finding to be true in my own life.
You see, about two and a half years ago, I decided I wanted to cultivate a practice of gratitude in my life. First, I thought I’d keep a gratitude journal…but that only lasted about a week until I misplaced it. That derailed my habit of gratitude for a while.
Then as I was setting up my planner last year, it dawned on me that I could use the full calendar page of my giant “book of everything” to be my gratitude journal. So I started using the little squares to document gratitude. Each evening as I fill out my to-do list, I also jot down two to five blessings.
Now, there are certainly days I don’t get my jots jotted, but the practice is in place, and it does make a difference in my attitude toward the ups and downs of life.
Even on the days when the laundry piles up, the dishes litter the counter, and I cannot walk across the floor without stepping on something of questionable origins, I can be thankful for the family who contributed to the disaster.
Even on the days of sorrow when my heart hurts, I can be thankful for memories.
Even on the days when harsh words have been exchanged, I can be thankful for forgiveness and second chances.
Gratitude begets gratitude.
The more I practice the finding the blessings in everyday life, the more blessings I see.
Some days I’m thankful for big blessings.
Some days I’m thankful for small blessings.
It is both a choice and a learning process, and through this practice of gratitude, I can say that I am learning to
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
During this Thanksgiving season, may we all begin cultivating a practice of gratitude in our lives. May we start looking for the blessings in the messy and mundane. May we take note of the victories. May we seek to find the gifts our Good Father gives us. And once we being to recognize those gifts, may we truly thank God for them for he is the giver of all that is good.
“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