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Cultivating Gratitude

Holidays

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Cultivating Gratitude

Nov 4, 2022

Cultivating Gratitude

Nov 4, 2022

You've seen the memes.

You know, the ones making fun of the fact that the day after Thanksgiving, a day in which we give thanks for all that we have, we then rush out to buy all the things we “need” on Black Friday.It’s ironic, but also a glaring portrayal of reality. Our world encourages us to “give thanks,” but also, “buy more.” We say we’re content with what we have, but then we get on social media and instantly think we need more, bigger or better.

It is so easy to fall into this trap of forgetting all the things we have to be thankful for. For many of us, our sinful, human nature will naturally gravitate to jealousy, envy, discontentment, or greed. I’ll be the first to admit that seeing the “perfection” of someone else’s life can very quickly cause me to miss out on the beauty of the gifts God has so graciously given me. However, here’s the good news: we can ask Him to help us turn from these feelings and instead, fight for joy, contentment and gratitude.God’s word tells us of the importance of giving thanks, and actually even commands us to do so.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1

Thankfulness is a way for us to remember who God is, what He has done, and what He will do. We can always look around and find something – anything! – to thank Him for because He is always at work for our good and His glory, even when our current circumstances might not feel like it.


November is a month we often associate with “thankfulness,” but what if this month, we took it even deeper than that? What if we moved from BEING THANKFUL to BEING GRATEFUL.One website makes the distinction between the two as, “being grateful is an action while being thankful is a feeling.” Thankfulness means thinking of and recognizing the things in your head and your heart that you love and appreciate; moving these thoughts into action or vocalizing them to someone is a way to express gratitude.

Here are a few ways you can cultivate gratitude in your heart and your home:

  • Create a gratitude journal: Have a journal that is specifically for you to write down all the things that pop into your mind that you are grateful for. Keep track of everything, from the smallest detail (coffee!) to the biggest (God’s grace) – each and every one is a reason to thank God.
  • Text, call, email or write someone: If someone has impacted your life or done something good for you, share your gratitude. Ask God to bring people to mind and as He does, send them a note of thanks. It might seem small, but these are great ways to remind you of the work God does through others in your life.
  • Do something for someone: One of the best ways to remind yourself of the things you have to be thankful for is to share God’s love with those around you. This could be a random act of kindness for a stranger or by serving someone in your family – whatever thankfulness we have in our hearts should bubble out to those we encounter.
  • End the day with one good thing: Instead of ending the day scrolling your phone (which might again trigger discontentment or dissatisfaction), think of one good thing. What was one good thing from the day that you can cling to and remind yourself of God’s goodness in your life? Thank Him for it, and if you want to take it even further, tell someone. Set up a nightly text thread with some friends or tell a family member what your one good thing was for the day.
  • Turn gratitude into worship: Go on a walk and notice the way God has created beauty in the world. Listen to the squeals of joy coming from the kids in a neighboring backyard. Dig into Scripture and read the ways God has been faithful since the beginning of time. Play some worship music and sing along loudly. Let all these things point back to a God who so deeply loves and cares for you, and let it lead you back to worship.

As we walk through the upcoming holidays, stay the course and fight for gratitude. Be reminded of all He has done, acknowledge what He is doing right now, and wait in grateful expectation for all He will do.

By: Stacey Mensik


Stacey Mensik

Stacey is the Creative Content Coordinator for Hillside Community Church, which means she loves writing, editing and all things social media. She is in the trenches of motherhood with four kids, clinging to God daily, yet grateful for the chaos.

Stacey Mensik

Stacey is the Creative Content Coordinator for Hillside Community Church, which means she loves writing, editing and all things social media. She is in the trenches of motherhood with four kids, clinging to God daily, yet grateful for the chaos.