Posts tagged ‘Quality ‘


A Grateful Heart

The definition of gratitude is: “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” 

Many inspirational speakers encourage a person to start a “gratitude journal” and develop a personal practice of taking note daily of things we are grateful for.  Several studies on gratitude suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression.  They also have more positive ways of coping with difficult situations in life. “Gratitude and well-being.” Wikipedia.  So gratitude is not only good for the “soul” but also the body, which leads me to wonder – does showing gratitude benefit me more than the person I am expressing it to?  My motivation in expressing gratitude is to impact someone else’s emotional state in an encouraging way, to make them feel appreciated, or helpful.  I do it because I was raised to have good manners; it’s almost automatic (most of the time). 

Writing a gratitude journal sounds like something that would have a positive impact on my life, and at the very least be a FUN thing to do.  Ultimately though, I am challenged to answer the bigger question:  “Am I grateful for the things I feel I deserve?” Is it this type of gratitude that could significantly impact my life?  Change my attitude?  Alter my perspective and focus?  It is easy to be grateful for a gift from a friend, or a surprise blessing, but what about my pay cheque?  Do I put it into the same “gratitude” category as a spontaneous note received from my sister?  Or do I feel because I “earned” it that I don’t need to be grateful? 

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 says:  “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)  So here I am given CLEAR direction.  “All circumstances” means my gratitude should not be attached to my sense of entitlement.  How humbling is that?  How do I begin to experience this in my daily life?

The word “quality” is used in the above definition of gratitude, and the definition of a quality is: “an attribute or characteristic possessed by someone – it can serve to identify.”  This gives me HOPE, as an attribute is something I can develop.  I can choose to look for and recognize ALL my circumstances, and have an attitude of gratitude.  It is something I can learn, and practice… with practice I should get better at it.  I would love to have an “identity” of gratitude.  I wonder at how phenomenal an impact this would have in my life, in how I feel about God, myself, and others.

I invite you to join me in developing this characteristic.  I intend to start with a lively dinner conversation this evening about gratitude and ask my family to identify things they see in my life that they think I should be grateful for.  I’m going to ask the Lord to reveal to me more and more when my attitude needs to change from one of entitlement to one of gratitude.  And I’m going to practice being grateful in ALL my circumstances.  What will you do?

6 comments May 27, 2011


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