Lesson: If I asked most people if they thought they were a thankful person, my guess is that most people would say yes. However, upon closer examination of their daily thoughts and words, I wonder if they would still be able to say yes?
How many times a day do you say, “I’ll be happy when this happens or I’ll be so glad when I get this?” How many times a day do you find yourself complaining about the people in your life, the place where you live, the place where you work, the way you look, the way you feel, the things you have or don’t have?
Based on my personal experiences and just being around a lot of different people in general, I think a lot of us unconsciously think or say things that express our dissatisfaction with where we are and what we have in life more than we express our gratitude about it.
I came to a profound realization a while back that really helped me practice being more thankful. The key to keeping a joy-filled heart is to be thankful for where you are on the way to where you are going. In the same vein, being thankful for what you have right now instead of constantly thinking of the next thing you want that will make you happy, will also bring just as much joy. I had to train my mind and mouth to express gratitude more often throughout each day and when I did that I found myself complaining less, which started to richly increase my joy. Expressing gratitude daily will keep your heart full of joy and drown out the tendency to complain. Look around your environment, look at the people around you and be intentional about finding something to be thankful for and then say it out loud. I found myself being thankful for having hot water to bathe in, for having different choices of food to choose from in my refrigerator, for not only having a car but having funds to put gas in my car so it could run, for having the ability to dress myself each day without needing help. These things may seem small but these are things that some people in the world do not have. If you start to think like that you will quickly realize that even on your worst day, you have something to be thankful for that someone else in this world does not have. I once heard someone say, “If you put all your problems and concerns in a big pot with everyone else’s problems and concerns in the world, you would be glad to pick yours back up and walk away.” That statement really stuck with me and has helped me to be content and grateful!
Application: Think about all of the blessings that you have that others don’t & be intentional about expressing gratitude several times a day. Then pay attention to the increased level of joy in your heart.