5 Ways to Go “Gratitudinal”
So gratitude takes work — especially the distinctly “Christian” sort of gratitude, which offers specific praise to God even during times of great difficulty. It’s a choice to reject whining, griping, and complaining. It’s a choice to sacrifice self-pity and sorrow. It’s a sacrifice of praise that comes out of the innermost parts of our hearts.
So how do we make gratitude a regular lifestyle? How do we become “gratitudinal” people? Nancy offers 5 very practical suggestions.
1. Surrender your rights to God.
Surrender is not a one-time thing that happens at the moment of conversion. It’s a daily, moment-by-moment choice to surrender your will to God’s, your desires to His. It’s an everyday decision to choose His way instead of your own, to obey His commands rather than your own fleshly lusts.
But what does that have to do with becoming “gratitudinal”?
“It’s not our place to make demands and call the shots. It’s His. And when we learn to be grateful for that, we free ourselves to rest our full weight on the only sure thing this world has to offer.” – Nancy DeMoss
2. Commit to a set season of gratitude.
You can read all the books you want about gratitude, talk about it, even think about it… but just like any other skill, you have to actually do it before you can become good at it. Gratitude takes work… hard, focused effort and a dedicated period of time.
Nancy’s suggestion is to pick a pre-determined period of time (a week or month), and choose to focus on gratitude during that month. Center your devotions around studying praise and thankfulness. Choose other gratitude-related projects to work on during that time, like keeping a blessings book or thankfulness list. Find someone to keep you accountable to it all.
The point is, pick a time period and get started. Don’t stress over doing it perfectly, just get started doing something. You’ll be surprised how quickly the time will go — and how much you’ll want to continue the challenge after that time period ends!
3. Take stock of your gratitude accounts.
Who has made a difference in your life? How can you let them know today what they mean to you? How can you offer encouragement to them today?
This is more than just saying “thank you” when someone does something nice. It’s letting that old woman know how much she influenced your life-decisions, maybe taking her out to a nice dinner somewhere, and sharing how her life has impacted yours. It’s taking time to enjoy your neighbor, after they’ve faithfully fed your dog and emptied your trash when you’re away. It’s spending a few extra dollars to send flowers to your Sunday school teacher, or a sweet card to your favorite aunt.
Let people know that you’re grateful for them. Let them know now, before it’s too late.
4. Write thank-you notes.
Send them to those people on your list from #3… but also to those people who are often overlooked. Maybe they haven’t influenced you directly, but you see their example of faithfulness in cleaning the church every week. Maybe it’s the teacher’s aide at your child’s school, who puts up with so much and yet goes so unnoticed. Maybe it’s a sibling or a parent who prayed for you during your darkest days…
Nothing is too small to be acknowledged by a thank-you note. Have you ever known someone to reject that sort of note? Have you ever known anyone to grumble about being thanked for something?
It doesn’t have to be fancy, or prolific, or even very creative. Just say it from your heart, and in your own words. It will help you practice gratitude, and will be a source of blessing to you and the recipient.
5. Do it together, as a Body-building exercise.
Be unified with other believers in your gratitude… for everything! How much better our relationships would be, if we all took the time to offer thanks for and with each other. How much more fruitful our ministries would be. How much less conflict and division there would be!
Practice these things together with other believers.
- Spend time daily with a prayer partner or prayer group, surrendering your individual and collective rights to God. Pray for each other to continued living wholly surrendered to Him.
- Complete a gratitude challenge together–through a Bible study, collective thankfulness list, or some other method of focusing on gratitude.
- Have thank-you note parties, where everyone brings blank note cards and writes notes of encouragement and thankfulness.
Now it’s YOUR turn!
- What did you love in chapter 9? What didn’t you love?
- How will you choose to focus on becoming “gratitudinal” this month?
- Anyone planning to do the 30-day gratitude challenge?
That’s all, folks! And just in time for Thanksgiving, too. I hope this book has been as life-changing for you, as it has for me. Gratitude really does matter. It really does make a difference in the everyday ho-hum of life. It’s worth the time and effort necessary to make it a habit. It’s worth the sacrifice, and I am very grateful for what God has taught me through this study!
If you have any thoughts on the study, I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment, send me an email, or reach out on Facebook. Let’s go “gratitudinal” together!