Could saying a simple ‘thank you’ revolutionise your life? You are searching for ultimate happiness, something to provide satisfaction and fulfilment in your life. What if I told you, you already have access to a wonderful key to unlock a brighter and new way of living?
‘Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home and a stranger into a friend’. – Melody Beattie
I’m sure you have had drilled into you the importance of saying your ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’. We are quick to teach children this courtesy but it becomes something most of us do without thinking. I mean, I’m sure it isn’t just me who has ended up having those awkward conversations where you are just thanking each other for thanking you. Or those times you end up saying thank you after someone has apologised and then you realise you are thanking someone for their mistake (What, how did that happen?!)
I am certainly guilty of my ‘thanks-giving’ not always being ‘thanks-feeling’ – my response is often just an empty expression of words and not a heart response. Most of us would agree that we are good at genuinely showing gratitude when someone pays for our coffee or does us a favour, but do we thank someone when the situation doesn’t go how we planned, or in our ‘boring’ routine of the everyday?
The problem is we can’t force ourselves to be thankful – genuine thankfulness is not willed, but experienced! As we become aware of all the good things around us, our hearts start to become thankful for them and we notice little things that are full of joy! When we pay attention we experience the little moments and gifts that life has to offer us – the smell of coffee in the morning, the pretty light reflections on the floor as the sun shines through the window, the colours that creep into the leaves as Autumn comes, the time spent sharing deep friendships and laughing until your stomach hurts.
How many of these little moments pass us by as we fall into the normality of life? We repeat our daily routines; wake up, travel to work on the tube in a zombie-like state desperately trying to avoid acknowledging the strangers around us when we could be awake to the colourful life that is available to us. According to research, cultivating gratitude can lead to a happier, healthier, more energetic, more relaxed, less self-centred, more productive you. And who doesn’t want to be a new and improved version of themselves?
I love hosting parties. I’m not talking about a wild-night-out kind of party but there is something so fulfilling about celebrating. The spirit of celebration expresses itself in get-togethers, in times of laughter with good friends and sharing a meal. But I am a huge believer that we don’t need an occasion to celebrate. Celebration shows itself in little moments of grace and as Christians our lives are overflowing with grace. In fact even our ability to feel thankful and see God’s goodness in our lives is a work of grace because we can’t make ourselves feel it. So how do we live with a spirit of thankfulness as an everyday attitude
According to Colossians 2:7 thankfulness is something that should mark us apart as followers of Jesus. When we start to realise that every new day, every breath is a gift from our Creator, thankfulness will explode in our lives. When we start to infuse thanksgiving right where we are, in that boring every day routine that sometimes makes us feel trapped, we are bringing a piece of heaven down to earth. When we remember that we are forgiven continuously we can be thankful despite the circumstances. When we appreciate the faithfulness of God and the little blessings he fills our lives with we experience joy regularly. When we follow Jesus’ example living with a freedom to enjoy God’s favour we glorify him more fully. When we understand we have a grace-filled story, a story with a purpose, a true story of thanksgiving, we can’t help but overflow with gratitude.
If you’re anything like me you will roll your eyes at all the inspirational stick-it-on-a-mug quotes that are popular nowadays – ‘Think happy, be happy’. But there is truth in the theory that the way we think and act today determines how we feel and the person we become. Now I will happily admit that despite being what most people consider a sporty person, I am not the best at running for longer than (let’s say) 10 minutes. But I have discovered that it isn’t ever about whether my body can stand it but whether I can convince my mind to keep going…
What if you made the decision right now that you are going to challenge yourself to wake up each morning with a grateful heart and be determined that you will find 5 things today to be thankful for? I challenge you today, whether you believe in the Bible or not, to try making gratitude a priority and see if you find what Jesus says to be true!
Phebe Wells – Kick London Staff Coach