The Life-Changing Practice of Intentional Gratitude

thankful

In my Homemaker’s Quiet Time Journal, I mentioned a daily practice I have of gratitude and thanksgiving, and it’s one that I think needs a bit more attention and explanation.

Intentional Gratitude

The idea is simple. Everyday, I sit down with my gratitude journal, and list 3 things that I’m thankful for that day. 

I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and it has literally changed my perspective, and my life as a result. The thing is, I’ve always considered myself a thankful person. No matter how bad my day, I’ve always known that there are many things in my life that I can be thankful for. Every prayer in my life and in our household begins with thanks. Even just simply thanking the Lord for a new day. And His salvation. Our family. There are so many basic things to be thankful for that we take for granted every day, and I’ve always been aware of that.

However, being intentional about noticing blessings in the every day was a game-changer for me.

Some examples of things I’ve written in my gratitude journal:

  • A perfect morning for my youngest son’s birthday
  • When my oldest son had a reading breakthrough
  • The garden tomato of the year
  • A nice chat with a friend
  • My husband doing something kind for me
  • My boys being kind to one another
  • Washing dishes–yes, as a person who struggles with depression, this makes the list sometimes. I’m thankful for this chore because it means I had the energy to do it!
  • Good weather

Anyway, that’s a sample. They are specific, day-to-day, and not broad general things.

The only catch is nothing bad. So even on the worst day, I pull out 3 good things. 3 blessings to be thankful for.

The Power of Gratitude

How could such a simple concept be life-changing? Here are just some of the changes I’ve noticed in myself

  1. An overall more positive attitude. Again, I wasn’t a negative person to begin with. However, being intentional about noticing and focusing on blessings leads to a different level of having a more positive attitude. I find that I complain less just because it is becoming more of a habit to look for the blessings and focus on those in my daily life, rather than to notice and focus on things that go wrong. I recently spoke with my aunt who confirmed this as well. She got the idea to try this in her place of work. In her office, she suggested a rule that everyone start the day off with something positive. She said that it has been amazing the change that such a small change has had on the overall tone of the office. Simply practicing gratitude.
  2. Recognizing blessings.  So often, we take our blessings for granted. We see a beautiful sunset or a beautiful sunrise. Our kids bring us wildflowers from a field. Our husbands do something kind for us. A friend gives us a compliment. So many times these simple things are overlooked, unnoticed, or taken for granted. Being intentional with gratitude has helped me to notice these everyday blessings and give God the glory for them.
  3. Giving thanks through trials. Sometimes our trials can feel so big that we don’t notice the blessings in the midst of them. Forcing myself to do just that has made this much easier for me. In fact, it has become almost natural to me. When trials come, I’m immediately looking for the blessing. There is always something to be thankful for! 

What Does the Bible Say about Giving Thanks?

“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

“giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” -Ephesians 5:20

The Bible says both that we should give thanks in all things, and for all things. Yikes! Sometimes that second part is really hard. I have written about that topic before, but I think one thing that helps us do this is to trust in His sovereignty, like Joseph did.

Resources

Intentional Gratitude

How do you make gratitude a part of your day?

 

Comments

  1. says

    I am certainly thankful for you everyday. I take so much of what you do as a mother, school teacher, and homemaker for granted. I want to strive to be more intentional myself towards you. You definitely inspire me with this post. I love you, your grateful and thankful husband

    Chad Brothers

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