This past Sunday we continued our exploration of the integrated life and how gratitude plays an integral part in it. It isn't God who needs to be thanked. We are the ones who need to be grateful. Why? Because being grateful creates gratitude, and gratitude connects us with what is good, beautiful and positive in our lives. Also, gratitude helps us to remember that all of life is a gift given by the Giver. Gratitude thrives when we, with God's help, choose an attitude of gratefulness and abundance. Gratitude and abundance are grounded in trusting God's love for us. They are trusting that, even when things aren't going the way we want, God has good in store for us (Romans 8). The beauty of gratitude is, the more we practice being grateful, the more our attitude will shift towards gratitude and abundance.
Unfortunately, our minds are programmed to attach to negativity and scarcity. It's proven that negative thoughts stick like velcro, while positive ones slide off like Teflon (hence the need to practice gratitude). So often we wake up and the first thought we have is one of scarcity. We say to ourselves "I didn't get enough sleep." Then we move onto, "I don't have enough time, money, friends, support at work, etc... etc...." All through our day, we bombard ourselves with scarcity and negativity. No wonder we find practicing gratitude so difficult!
Luckily, God is willing and able help in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). This week Sean shared three practical tips to help us cultivate gratitude. They come from Lynne Twist's book called The Soul of Money. They are:
1. Get Deliberate: When flooded with fear and scarcity, try to focus on joy and sufficiency by acknowledging the fear, then transforming it into gratitude. You can say something like this out loud: “I’m feeling vulnerable, scared, pressured, etc.. That’s okay. I’m so grateful for ____________.”
2. Get Inspired: Be inspired by the daily doses of joy that are so often overlooked and happen in ordinary moments, like walking the kids home from school, a flower growing out of the sidewalk, jumping on a trampoline, a dog's wagging tail, or sharing family meals. Acknowledge to yourself that these moments are really what life is about! Doing this can change your outlook on work, family, and success.
3. Get Going: Come up with practical ways to incorporate gratitude into your day- e.g. -take turns being thankful at your meals, create a "gratitude jar" or journal to keep gratitude notes in, make an ongoing gratitude collage, set an alarm on your phone to do a quick "gratitude check," start your work day with a "gratitude" email or text to a friend or co-worker, etc.?
Consider this week:
Which of the three practical tips above will I try out this week?