A Gratitude Challenge

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
Colossians 3:16 NLT

After knocking over a half-full glass of water as I reached for my eye drops this morning, I could have chosen to complain. Instead, I chose gratitude.  What could I be thankful for?

  • Most of the water landed on the floor instead of my dresser top.
  • Not one drop of water fell into the open container of medication standing on my dresser.
  • When the glass hit the floor, it did not break or even crack.
  • I’m thankful for my generous-hearted sister-in-law who gave me that glass.
  • I can still touch my toes and bend over, so I easily cleaned up the mess.
  • My early morning accident provided an illustration for this blog post.

Gratitude, I’ve discovered, does not begin with feeling thankful. It starts with what I’m thinking. Words that gush out of my mouth flow from the hidden spring of beliefs I’ve stored in my heart.

Like the Psalmist, I want the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart to be pleasing to God. (Psalm 19:14) In order for this to happen, I must pay attention to my thoughts.

Here’s my challenge: In every situation where I’m inclined to grumble or complain, I will write a statement of gratitude. I will share these statements with someone on Thanksgiving Day.

That day is less than two weeks away. My challenge starts now. I hope you will join me.

  • Either electronically or with a pen and paper, write down each situation in which you feel angry, disappointed, sad, or stuck
  • Then, by writing down everything for which you can give thanks, turn it into an opportunity for gratitude.
  • Record any change in your attitude or energy level that results after you’ve done the first two steps.

NOTE: This is not an exercise in perfection. Don’t guilt yourself if you slip up; just get up and start again. Start building or, if you need to, rebuild a habit of gratitude.

 Get in the habit of gratitude;
 Cultivate that attitude.
 Practice it morning, noon, and night;
 Bless God for everything in sight—
 Everything beautiful, everything good;
 Focus not on the ugly, impure or lewd.
  Note everything true and commendable;
  See what has worth and what is expendable.
 Soon your soul will be filled with joy;
 Small imperfections will not annoy
 You anymore; you’ll be gracious
 To all--kind and courageous.
 Get in the habit of gratitude;
 Make it more than a platitude.
 Jane Ault 


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