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 book “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell Order Today! More about “Life-Giving Choices” HERE!