INTENTIONAL GRATEFULNESS by Jeannie Blocher It’s Monday morning. I’ve got a lot to do. I’m running a little late. I don’t feel like doing item #1 or #2 on my list. Discouragement begins to set in and I start feeling ungrateful and unmotivated. And it’s still Monday morning. Along with this, most importantly, I know I don’t want to live this ungrateful life. I need an antidote.
ife gets discouraging. We’ve been living in a time of loss. When you are frustrated by what is not happening, what is not available to you or what seems impossible, how does that make you feel? Probably the last thing you feel is gratefulness. I’ve been there. We probably all have—in recent weeks, months, maybe even today or just a minute ago.
When I am in that place, I find myself longing for a heart of gratefulness. My mind knows how many blessings I have experienced in my life, but my heart is having trouble focusing on this. I want to be true to the Scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that says simply:
But I need some nudging. I need to gently guide my heart in the right direction. So I am learning to practice “intentional gratefulness.” “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I say “practice it” because I need to do it again and again. I want to make it a lifestyle, and anything that becomes a habit takes practice. At any time of day, if I feel my mind sliding into discouragement and my heart wants to follow it into the great ungrateful unknown, I follow “my antidote plan.” Maybe it will help you.
My three-part antidote:
As I move through my day, I try to catch myself whenever my mind slips into a tone of thank lessness, I pause and lift a prayer to God. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:17 NIV) Next, I ask God to focus my mind and my heart on his precious promises – his Word is a key part of the antidote. I pray Jeremiah 29:11 a lot, and it grows my trust and gratefulness. “…I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) Then, in the power of the Holy Spirit, armed with God’s promises, and fixing my eyes on Jesus, I practice intentional gratefulness. I choose intentionally to express gratitude to God no matter what my circumstances are. Following God’s directive, I begin to take my thoughts captive, turning ungratefulness into thankfulness and worry into trust. Then I watch and wait as God does his heart-work on me until true gratefulness overflows by the power of the Holy Spirit. And I do this again and again, practicing intentional gratefulness and seeing God’s hand in my life! 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
What do you do when you your heart gets out of line and your mind leads you to ungratefulness? Will you consider practicing intentional gratefulness?
Dear Lord, help me to give thanks with a grateful heart in every circumstance. Guide me to practice intentional gratefulness. Amen.