A couple of years ago, God told me to appreciate little things. He really did! He sent me books, people, and when I still wasn’t paying attention, He told me. Once I realized what direction God wanted me to take, I started to take it to heart and putting gratitude into practice. God is so good and so merciful! I ran out of words to thank Him a long time ago, but I still make sure I do. Here are five things I did and still do today. I hope these will help you have a more grateful heart.
1. Write 10 things that you are grateful to God for
I was always into journaling as I love to write so this came naturally to me. I kept a journal in which I wrote down my prayers and things I was grateful for every day. I wrote about ten things to begin with so you can start with that. Later on, I couldn’t stop. I stopped counting how many things I was writing and it was amazing the things I was grateful for! I wrote things like:” Thank You so much, Lord for this beautiful day.” or ” Thank You so much, Lord, for Your love and mercy.” ” thank You God that I have eyes to see the beauty of Your creation.” etc. At first, I planned on doing it for 21 days, but I did not stop ever since. It truly changed my life and put things into perspective.
2. Say Thank you to/for others and mean it
I also started thanking others. Thanking them for little things each and every time. Thanking them for their friendship and thanking God for them.I would say in my heart when I see them:” Thank You God for putting this person in my life.” or even tell them in person that I am grateful for them. Surprisingly enough, my relationships bloomed without me doing anything. God was blessing each and every single one of my relationships and people seemed happier in my company. People who didn’t have my best interest at heart either completely changed their attitude or stayed away from me for my own good. I was also happier.
3. Be Grateful in Difficult Situations
I admit that this is not an easy one, but practice makes perfect! So much, that now, even if I say I am hungry or this is not going well etc. I am just saying it, but in my heart, whatever is not going well does not bother me one bit. Let me explain. In each situation, I believe there is a hidden blessing. There are always lessons to be learned and God knows I love to learn. I love to become a better person and to grow personally. As a result, every time something goes South, I always remind myself that there is a blessing in this situation even if I don’t realize it right away. I often say:“Thank God for lessons learned.”
I used to tutor at the Math Lab in the community college I went to. Some days were so busy that our supervisor would come in to help out. I had to walk around and help students while sometimes having one to one appointments and it was just so hectic. My coworkers would complain a lot about it and I would too at some point until I decided to view things from a different angle. Every day before work, I would pray and thank God for having a job and most importantly I would thank God for being able to help so many people who have exams and homework to go through. Next thing I knew, I was always so happy and cheery to go to work and help people. So much, that the students started to specifically ask for me to tutor them which made me even more grateful. At the end of my work days, I would be tired but I would always be smiling and looking forward to tomorrow. The same thing is happening at my current job. I love it so much and love the people even though it’s tiring work. I always look forward to the next work day so I can help people. As a result, my supervisor pulled me once to tell me how she loves how much of a positive attitude she noticed I have, how she appreciates my kindness, and how I always have such a genuine smile all the time making students feel welcomed. I thought to myself:” Thank you, Jesus. It was all You.”
4. Give Thanks in Your Prayers
Okay, I know this is a no brainer because we are supposed to give thanks while praying, but have you ever tried to not ask for anything and to just say thank you? I practiced that for over a month. I would wake up and start with praise then I would thank God for each and every little thing in my life for an hour. I would do the same at night. As a result, I started to pray for others and not for myself and kept on giving thanks. What happened was that I got the job I wanted out of the blue,I got the courage to walk away from someone who wasn’t good for my life, and I passed classes I thought I’d fail. I did not expect any of this, and sure did not pray about them, but giving thanks to God for the things I do have without asking anything else was trusting God to take care of my needs and that’s exactly what He did!
5. Don’t worry and Be Happy!
Easier said than done, but When you are genuinely grateful to God, you don’t have the time to doubt Him. You don’t have the time to question whether or not He will provide this or that because you are too busy being grateful for what He has provided. One thing I’ve learned is that worrying is one of the most ungrateful acts. To me, worrying is basically not believing God’s promises and dismissing what He has already done for you. So Be happy! Smile to strangers, love out loud and share the joy that you found in the Lord! He’ll take care of you like He always has!