Cultivating a practice of gratitude

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

man holding white pennant beside girl raising two hands in front of lake surrounded by mountains
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

We need to consider practicing gratitude for many reasons.  Our world today is filled with an endless array of violent images from media sources bombarding us.  These images scream at us from magazine covers in stores, from TV screens that are in medical offices, from social media posts, and from almost every news source that we watch.

We are also internally bombarded when we engage in destructive emotive content within our conversations, which carry internal messages, burning in our minds, strong images that can be contradictory to our life views.

Everywhere we turn, our minds are assaulted with graphic displays of world events either visually or in the conversations we hear, along with the content of the ones we participate in.

If we do not counter these images and conversations with other sources of input on a daily basis, our thoughts will be greatly impacted in allowing these violent and often divisive images to become the focus of our attentions, and these will become integrally knitted into our inner being, resulting in attitudes that spur unhealthy behaviors.

When we learn to intentionally choose those things we focus on that are beneficial to our thoughts, ones where we allow input that can move us in our attitudes, to engage in meaningful conversations that edify and lift up, we will be moving towards centering our lifestyles in practicing the teachings of Christ in our everyday ordinary living out of our faith walk.

Gratitude for the many friends and people I have in my life.

This does not mean we cannot be aware of what is happening, but what this does mean, is that we do not make the demise of worldly events a major focus of our attentions, allowing our minds to be consumed by them in the majority of our waking moments.

I have discovered the vibrant living energy and life that comes from reading and mediating on scripture, where the words have provided me necessary spiritual manna for my thoughts, that have helped me in developing a pattern of nurturing a lifestyle of gratitude.

Gratitude in having the freedom to meditatively read God’s word.

This morning, I woke up, got dressed, put on my sneakers and went out my front door entering the coolness of the day, where the light of the sun and the bluish white clouded sky, awakened my inner spirit within me, where the Spirit of God dwells.

Gratitude for the beauty in God’s creation.

In silent reflection, my eyes soaked in the beauty of green shaded leaves covering trees as my ears considered the songs of the birds; sparrows, blue birds, robins, crows, cardinals.

Gratitude for the simplicity in being able to walk.

I remembered the times (which spanned 3 years) I had a total body breakdown, spending many hours in a weakened state in bed, where walking even short distances was done in utter fatigue and exhausted me.  I thought of my sister, now in a wheelchair, who is now incapable of walking, along with my many friends who are unable to enjoy this small act many of us take for granted.

Gratitude in having real life, full of meaning and inner joy.

This morning, I set out to walk about 2.5 miles. Mornings become new opportunities to sing songs of thankfulness, lifting my soul and my voice to my God, for His love upon me, and for gracing me with His presence once again.

Anticipating these times with God to reflect, consider, pray and/or sing songs of worship to and with Him have been times He fills me with great pleasure.

Gratitude for the satisfaction I feel in spending these alone times with God.

This is one way I am learning to practice gratitude, to purposefully sing, putting into my own words, my appreciation to God, for all He has done in changing my thoughts, mind and heart character in becoming more Christ centered.

Gratitude for God’s redemptive work in me.

As I lifted my attention towards Him, I thanked Him for the beauty of His creation, the sound of the birds chirping as the Spirit reminded me of the verse of how much does God care for them, providing for all their needs.   How much more does He care for us, making sure to provide for all our basic needs; spiritually, food, clothing, housing.  (Matthew 6:26)

Gratitude for God’s abundant supply.

In being reminded of scriptures on my walk, the Spirit quickens the word in my spirit, reaffirming to me God’s goodness in my life and the many provisions of His Spirit in me, who fully gives me all I need to do what He has chosen and called me to do in this journey called life.

Gratitude for God choosing and calling me to Himself.

This is the reason reading and meditating on the scriptures are so vital to our spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing, for as we hide the word in our hearts, the Spirit causes us to remember it and brings it forth in our thoughts in our time of need, but also when we are interacting with others in their times of need.

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11

Gratitude for the Holy Spirit showing me the truth in God’s word.

Mediating on scriptures and allowing the Holy Spirit to be who embeds these truths into every cell and core of our inner person, aids us in remaining on this narrow road which leads to life, causing us to be thankful that He is the One who performs this radical change in us, helping us to remain faithful.

Gratitude for God’s faithfulness.

The deeper we allow the living Word, who is the Spirit of Christ, room to work in those deep regions of our thoughts, changing our internal attitudes, the nearer we are becoming in our outward profession in being God Hearts in this world and our lifestyle becomes centered in seeking those things that will lift us up and renew our own minds in becoming the sons and daughters of the King of King, walking as the authentic people of God.

Gratitude for the miracle of God’s Holy Spirit who renews my mind and does the radical work in transforming my inner character.

So today, begin to reflect on ways you can practice a lifestyle of having an attitude of gratitude.

Consider those attributes of God’s character and how He has manifested His Spirit life in you, and learn to speak words that express your thankfulness for those traits of Him in you and all the abilities He has given to you and all that you have, and all the special persons in your life, for in these ways we are learning to nurture a grateful spirit within us.

To begin your own practice of gratitude, write down everything that brings you joy, all those persons who are encouraging and uplifting, and all of what you enjoy doing as career, activities, hobbies, volunteer endeavors and begin thanking God for each item you listed.

Begin each day with thanking God for something, even if you think it is insignificant, as it is in the small everyday ordinariness of our days where God shows up.

Practicing gratitude takes intention, purpose, thoughtfulness, and reflection on our part.

 

GRATITUDE THAT I AM KNOWN BY GOD!

 

What was are you nurturing gratitude?  Share with us in the ‘Penny for your thought’ section below as we can all gain value from one another’s experiences!

 

Living Intentionally

International Certified Tai Chi Instructor

 

 

 

 

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