A Soul Full of Gratitude

Australian novelist Morris West suggests that at a certain age our lives simplify and we need have only three phrases left in our spiritual vocabulary: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

English minister John Henry Jowett once observed, “Gratitude is a vac­cine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” What better cure for what ails society today—choosing to have a grateful heart!

Who knew? For a long time, gratitude wasn’t even listed in the Encyclopedia of Human Emotions, a standard psychology text. Today, new studies by social scientists reveal what others have taught for centuries—gratitude is an indispensable demonstration of virtue and an integral component to living strong.

Gratitude reaches down into our very souls and awakens the slumber­ing feelings of grace and love we have for one another. “If you concen­trate on finding whatever is good in every situation,” says Rabbi Harold Kushner, “you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”

Is your own soul overflowing with gratitude? If not, why not?

Perhaps it’s easier to whine about what’s gone wrong. Or to never intentionally notice all that has been already received. Last Christmas, a short video aimed at the commercialization of the holidays went viral. In it a man awakens wrapped as a package and thanks God for the gift of life. Then he looks down and sees his feet wrapped up and thanks God for shoes. His kids come running in covered in wrapping paper and he thanks God for his family. Well, you get the idea—we already have so many gifts for which to be thankful! But are we?

All the things. Good things. Worthy things. Extraordinary people, adventurous journeys, breathtaking beauty, life-changing words, ful­filling service, quiet moments, and soul-stretching creativity.

There is much in life to embrace, but how do I choose?

My own days are full of obligation, deadlines, hurry, complicated relation­ships, overdue bills, medical challenges, juggling jobs—all seasoned with occasional bouts of guilt and insecurity. Because I can’t do it all. I can’t be it all.  It was in the midst of such a quandary that I wrote my newest book Life-Giving Choices – a 60-day inspirational journal about choosing what matters most.

Friends, we can choose! It is actually within our power to decide each day how we will live out the numerous interruptions, joys, crises, and surprises that come our way. Today we can choose to be grateful.

I’m glad I was trained from a young age to notice the plenty in my life. I actually have a crumpled copy of a “Thankful List” I created at age twelve in which I clearly listed seventy different things I was thankful for—all in categories, no less! But now, in my own autumn season, I don’t choose to write down that many items. My list is shorter but much deeper. Priceless gifts I notice. Every single day.

Anyone can grow a grateful heart with practice. Just decide that you will try to follow the biblical command to “be thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). If you can’t be thankful for what happened, be grateful for God’s provision of His presence and peace in the midst of whatever happened.

This is our choice – not just for the Thanksgiving season, but every single day.

under the mercy, Lucinda

copyright 2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Check out my brand new bookLife-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell Order Today! More about “Life-Giving Choices” HERE!


  1. Kendra Smiley on November 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Very good (& challenging) post! Thank you for sharing this.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 20, 2019 at 1:40 pm

      Oh Kendra, of course it’s a challenge to not whine, but I think we’re up to it — by God’s grace. Love you, hugs soon…

  2. Emily Wickham on November 20, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    I love this – truly an encouraging word. Thank you, Lucinda!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 20, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks for reading, Emily. What a privilege to be Thankful… in all things.

  3. Kathy Morrisey on November 20, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Spot on. Why so many ignore scripture which clearly tells us to be thankful in ALL things is sad. I have always been thankful our country has a holiday meant to stop, consider our many blessings and give thanks. Sadly this special day does not hold the meaning it did when I was a child. An attitude of gratitude every day will greatly change your life even on your worst day. Thank you.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 20, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      Thank you for reading! Yes, we can teach gratitude to the next generation – through our actions and examples of faith. Lord, may it begin with me…

  4. Sheree Harrington on November 20, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Cindy,
    Thanks again for reminding us of such a simple yet deeply profound insight. I believe part of our ingratitude is due to the reality that in our culture we don’t want for very much. We have so much materially speaking, that our focus becomes getting the next best version. I have heard many testimonies from folks in the mission field or people who have taken short term missions trips about the overwhelming gratitude that flows from people with so very little. It’s worth taking notice. Shalom!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 20, 2019 at 2:42 pm

      Great insight, Pastor Sheree — I think you are spot on. We are oversaturated with stuff. Need to choose simplicity… and gratitude. Thanks for reading.

  5. Debbie Nagle on November 20, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    It sounds so simple, isn’t that difficult, but the results are immeasurable!! Thank you for this critical reminder I’ll be sharing with family.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 20, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      Yes! sometimes things are simple, but not easy. Thanks so much for reading and sharing with others…

      • Sharon banta on November 20, 2019 at 5:56 pm

        Awesome quotes. Thank you so much for what you do to encourage us all! Sharon

        • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 20, 2019 at 6:35 pm

          Great to hear from you Sharon and thanks for reading. Be blessed today, friend!

  6. Barb Wilson on November 20, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks Cindy. A message I grew up with as well, but God continually reminds me of. I love the joy that flows out of me when I’m thankful. My dad was a pastor and the one message he spoke that I truly remember had this title—a thankful heart is a joyful heart. Being thankful changes everything, even when nothing changes!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 20, 2019 at 6:34 pm

      Barb, aren’t we utterly grateful for our heritage of faith? I love that you remember that Thankfulness message from your daddy long ago. Our attitude and our choices truly do change everything. Looking forward to hugs pretty soon…

  7. Barbara on November 20, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks Cindy. An important reminder.

    Wishing you and Mike a wonderful Thanksgiving. Assume you’ll be with Fiona and family.

    Lots of love and blessings,


    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 23, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Thank you Barbara. We are sending all our love and holiday greetings out there to Mountain Meadows!

  8. Barbara on November 20, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks Cindy for this important reminder. Grateful to the Lord for ALL His many blessings including your friendship. wishing you and Mike a wonderful Thanksgiving with Fiona and clan, Lots of love, Barbara

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 22, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks for reading, Barbara. Love to you and Newt at Thanksgiving as well. We are so very grateful for more than 40 years of friendship and partnership in ministry with yall. Hugs to the guys… Loving my gifts…

  9. Polly Brown on November 20, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Lucinda, I just recently began receiving your blog. I remember you from some conference or other back in New England but I’m not sure if we ever met personally. All you say about gratitude is spot on. One of the things that disturbs me about the times we live in is that giving thanks has become passive – we are urged to “be thankful.” We have lost the concept that a gift implies a giver. Since God is the ultimate giver of every good gift, we need to offer our thanksgiving first and foremost to Him. This then spills over into expressing thanks to the people around us. I am 91 and while I don’t have the problems that some do, there are days when I feel discouraged with all that I am no longer able to do. That is when my Lord speaks through the Holy
    Spirit to remind me to put on that “attitude of gratitude” that one of your readers mentions above. All the blessings of the Thanksgiving holiday to you.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 23, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      Polly, how lovely of you to read this and drop a note. You inspire me with your words at 91-years-old about the importance of grateful attitudes, no matter what the season. May the Lord be close to you and yours during the holidays. Blessings!

  10. Tami Styer on November 22, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you for this encouragement and challenge. It is a daily choice which makes a huge difference in my life and those around me. I just received your new book and am looking forward to reading this. Thank you for your emails!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 23, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Oh Tami, thank you so much for reading “Life-Giving Choices” and I wish you all the best for Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas and New Year. Blessings!

  11. Jim Glasgow on November 26, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Wonderful, Encouraging thoughts Cindy.
    Thanks !! Mighty proud of you.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on November 27, 2019 at 11:28 am

      Wow. Great to hear from you, Jim. I’m thankful for you and your influence in my young life. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Cindy

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