Six Ways to Foster an Attitude of Gratitude

thanksgivingSometimes the circumstances of our lives can squeeze out the hope, joy, and thankfulness that once buoyed our hearts and put a smile on our faces.  Sometimes the burdens of life and unanticipated pain in friends and family can overshadow all the gratitude that once prevailed within our spirits.

How can we live with these realities of life and still maintain a thankful heart?  How can we foster an attitude of gratitude?  Here are six simple suggestions to consider:

1.  Record something every day for which you are thankful.  Keep a daily journal, including whatever you might want to document and remember.  At the end of each entry, write the word “Thanksgiving,” and then record something from that day for which you can give thanks.

2.  Send an encouragement card each week.  Develop a habit of sending someone – anyone – a note of encouragement, thanks, and appreciation.  I am sometimes astonished when someone mentions to me an encouragement card that I sent to them five or ten years ago.  They can even recite the very words I wrote to them.  Sometimes the effects of a well-timed word of encouragement can endure for many months or even years.

3.  Say “thank you for . . .” to someone every day.  Make it a practice to say “thank you” frequently, and then specify the thing for which you are thanking them.  Recognize that much of who you are and what you have is a by-product of many people who have lovingly invested in your life.  Become a generous expresser of gratitude throughout your daily life.

4.  Memorize a Scripture verse about thankfulness.  There is an abundance of Scripture inviting us, even commanding us, to give thanks to God.  Hiding God’s Word in your heart can make you a more grateful person.  Here are just a few to consider:

  • Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  His faithful love endures forever.  – Psalm 136:1
  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  – Philippians 4:6-7

5.  Every Thanksgiving Day, document reasons for giving thanks.  Take out a blank piece of paper on Thanksgiving and fill the page with things for which you are thankful from the past year.  Keep each one so you can reflect back on them in future years.

6.  Thank God regularly for the basics.  God has done more for us than we can ever imagine.  We have enough material for thanksgiving to last a lifetime – even to last for all eternity.  Remember to thank God regularly for the basics – things such as:

Thank You, Lord, for creating me.

Thank You, Lord, for sustaining me.

Thank You, Lord, for dying for me.

Thank You, Lord, for drawing me to Yourself.

Thank You, Lord, for saving me.

Thank You, Lord, for molding and refining me.

Thank You, Lord, for using me.

Thank You, Lord, for __________________ .

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