At the end of the day, don’t we all just want to be happy, grateful people? But how many of can say that we are truly joyful, and full of peace most of the day, every day? After living through more decades of life that I’d like to admit, through many seasons of ‘ups and downs,’ I have found thankfulness to be the key to happiness. When we’re thankful, it changes our perspective on life, and our behaviors. Even through the tough times, those with grateful hearts seem to weather the storms of life with so much more grace and agility. Here are five ways to become a more thankful person, starting today.
Pray for Thankfulness
Sounds trite and it can feel awkward, but if we’re looking for more joy, peace and happiness in our life, the first place to start is prayer. Ask the Lord for gratefulness. To open your eyes to blessings, people and circumstances you might be blind to, or taking for granted, and for a deeper appreciation of all that you have. John 14:13 says “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” So receiving a more thankful spirit is pretty much a guarantee. It can feel strange asking for thankfulness-almost like praying to feel more love for God- but He will honor your sincerity and your heart on this one. Guaranteed!
I hate slow things. Slow talkers, slow drivers, slow cashiers (oh my gee the slow cashiers) because I’m always in a rush. But a few years ago, the Lord convicted me of this chaotic state of mind. I was missing a lot of the beauty, and the little moments He had lined up for me that day. The sweetness of stopping to color with my three-year- old and saying yes instead of “I’m too busy” when my husband asks to “cuddle” on our lunch break (beauty of remote working!). When we attempt to live more in the moment we really do become more grateful people. There are sweet, wonderful moments everywhere, all the time, and I’m determined not to keep on missing them in order to fit one more round of squats before the school bus comes.
Create A Prayer Journal
This is hands down one of the best gifts you can give to yourself. Something as simple as a Word doc, or journal dedicated solely to tracking answered prayers. I suggest creating two columns….one with prayer request, and another to jot down descriptions of how /when the prayer was answered. If I’m ever feeling down or disappointed, I pull up my Word doc. and I’m instantly filled with gratefulness. God has done so much and continues to move (even in this moment) in our lives, for our good.
Get Your Praise On
Even if you don’t feel like it…even if it’s one of “those days,” where your kids are fanning the flames of your PMS with every word they speak, worshiping does usher in the spirit of thankfulness and we WILL feel more joyful. When you sincerely worship, the spirit automatically shifts your mindset and centers your heart on what matters. You are His, You are loved, you are chosen, He is good, etc. and we’re reminded of the greatest reason to give thanks, to ever exist: if you’re a believer, simply the fact that we’re saved, with the unfailing hope of eternal life is enough to keep us grateful. It’s just one of those truths that lose its fervor and joy unless continuing to meditate on.
I’ve found that when you focus on helping anyone who either has less, or is going through difficult times, we’re quickly reminded of how much really do have. A loving sister, friends, a solid job, a house of our own, even if it’s a little one. Getting out of our comfort zones for the sake of others quickly ushers the reality of just how good we have it. Even just having the strength and love and compassion to help each other, whether it’s being a prayer partner, or watching a friend’s child once a week- is something to be grateful for. So many early years of my single motherhood were drastically dependent on others, and now years later, I feel SO grateful to be in the position of giving back…even if it’s giving a sound piece of advice or encouragement. It’s a priceless position to be in.
Times of sadness, loneliness etc. are normal, and we should never deny our feelings, or feel condemned for them. But when focusing on the Lord, on what matters in life, and all that He’s given us it really does invoke a lifestyle of praise and thankfulness.
For more on praise and thankfulness check out my post, “6 Ways To Praise Yourself Out Of A Funk.”