What does gratitude look like?
GRATITUDE: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness
Gratitude to me is looking at all that is around me and all those that are in my life and having a full heart. It’s seeing each person as a very special person that was specifically placed in my life at this point. The opportunities that I’m able to be a part of during this season in life, and understanding and accepting that change is inevitable yet so necessary for growth. Being grateful for the ups and the downs, the seemingly unnecessary roadblocks and the green lights in life, the quiet seasons and the very chaotic and crazy seasons. It’s stepping back and embracing the person that I take for granted instead of walking away from a potential life lesson from the Lord and being grateful for the little things just as much as the big things. Gratitude is a simple reminder that we don’t deserve a DANG thing in life, but seeing that we are all so blessed to have everything and everyone that is in our life right here, right now and being content with it all.
What am I grateful for?
First and foremost, my family. I have one of the greatest and closest families a person could ask for. Like every family, there are differences and all that good stuff, but then there are the things that we have in common. Some things bring us closer as adults that wouldn’t necessarily have brought us close as children. We constantly learn about each other and how different, yet how much the same we are. I’m grateful for the upbringing that my siblings and I had because we were taught to love others and respect them. We were taught to love God and to always make sure that He’s acknowledged. My parents have taught us the meaning of what having a solid marriage is and what it takes to maintain that. I’m forever grateful for how we all turned out as adults and how we all continue to grow, mature and become closer as the years continue. My family has been and always will be my biggest group of supporters in all that I do (even if it takes them a minute to agree).
My husband is also included in my family, but I’m grateful for the difference between a big family and a growing small one. Yes, I have a large family, but I also have a new role as a wife and a fur momma. I do life 100% with my husband, and that’s something that I don’t show appreciation enough for. I’m grateful for my husband’s ever-growing desire to learn ALL THE THINGS! He inspires me to be a better me, to learn more, to use my gifts and to be confident in all that I do. He’s been a key factor in my growth as a woman after God. I can’t be mad at him and try to be on good terms with Jesus. I have to reconcile any differences before I can come to God, and being that I live with my husband daily, I have to make sure things are on good terms in that department. I’m grateful for the traits that God’s working on that I was so confident in before marriage, and for the humbling, that’s been done through this season.
Last but not least, I’m grateful for the friends that God has placed specifically in my life this season. Now let me tell you something about my feelings about having friends… I have MANY WALLS up when it comes to making and keeping friends around. Just a quick explanation, I’ve been burned one too many times in my life, I don’t like drama and I don’t do FAKE in friendships. So, something that I’ve prayed was that the Lord would orchestrate genuine, drama free, edifying, and wisdom-filled friendships that would be beneficial and God-glorifying. Let’s just say, He made it very evident who these women were. There are only three women who God specifically placed in my life for different reasons. Each friendship is special and very dear to my heart. The differences between these friendships and others in the past is the vulnerability and realness in each of them. I’m grateful for how real and transparent I can be with each of them and vice versa.
What else am I grateful for?
TIME. This may seem strange, and at times I’d have to agree, but there is something profound and quite humbling about having time.
Now, I think that this is so important to me because of the loss I experienced 3 years ago. My grandma passed away and all I could think of was how much time I felt that I lost with her. I allowed the thoughts and regrets of the time I spent here or there instead of with her to waste more time that I could have been using for others. Of course, I still have really hard days, but the lesson that I learned from that loss was that I only have an allotted time with each person that’s in my life right now. Instead of aimlessly scrolling through social media, I can go spend time with others or call someone to see how they’re doing. I’m allowed to choose what I want to do with my time. I have right now to make a difference, and I have to make that decision daily!
Why is gratitude so important? How to be more grateful?
Gratitude, appreciation, thankfulness… these words all carry such special meanings to me. These words might mean that people are uplifted, excited, loved, and recognized, and do you know what a world of difference that can do for someone? Gratitude in and of itself is important because it doesn’t give anyone the time to take for granted what and who is in their lives. Spending more time on the positive things and the blessings in life, keep the attention off of the negative thoughts, feelings, and issues that may be at the forefront of the mind. Vocalizing what we are grateful for can change our mindset. Physically writing out what we’re grateful for can also constantly remind us of what is important and what matters most. I’m not a psychologist, but I heard that vocalizing or visualizing what and who we are grateful for actually trains our brains to think more positively regularly. This, in turn, can result in a brighter life and less “blue days”.
I think the importance of being grateful for your life is that you allow yourself to be content with the life that you have RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. When we begin to list out the things and people we have presently, we become capable of being happy and content with our own lives and then we begin to celebrate WITH other people about the things that they’re grateful for.
Let me encourage you today, that to show gratitude is to simply say, “Thank You God for the greatest gifts that You wanted to give me for this season.” The circumstances may not make it easy to be grateful at the present moment, but the more we begin to train our minds and hearts that WE ARE BLESSED RIGHT NOW, the more content and joy-filled we’ll be. Try writing out what you’re grateful for today. Let me know what you came up with, and before you say that there isn’t anything you can think of… let me remind you that YOU’RE BREATHING RIGHT NOW. 😉