The Thing About Gratitude

Life has been so strange lately; I haven't had more than one night off in a row, which makes for a tired girl, a busy mind, and a dirty house. My soul is craving a little downtime, so to sit with you and drink a cup of coffee without having to watch the clock would be perfection right now. 

I sat down the other night to think about our next Community Brew, just to brainstorm and see what the Lord led me to. That brainstorming led to an English lesson with myself--the difference in gratitude and thankfulness. I'll admit, I use them interchangeably. But I was wrong; they're not quite the same thing, and I'm glad I realized that because it's shifted my whole way of thinking. 

Gratitude is a state of being and thankfulness expresses gratitude--so gratitude is a feeling and thankfulness is an expression of that feeling. Gratefulness folds inward; it shifts our perspective and leads to contentment. Thankfulness is how we show it, to ourselves and to others. It's kind of like joy and happiness--happiness is based on situations but joy is a constant, something you have to choose to have and work for.

Where do I begin on what the Lord has done in my life? Day by day, He's showing me His faithfulness over and over and it just brings tears to my eyes. Sure, there's the usual list--family, friends, job, house. Lately, I'm learning to be grateful for my health. I've had a lot going on with my health lately, and as easy as it is to get discouraged, I'm choosing to be grateful for the body He blessed me with, even when it's not working as it should. God is bigger than any situation going on in my life and I'm learning to remember that daily. It's all for His glory, after all. I want to live in a state of being grateful; I want to have a happy heart that pours out thanksgiving to Him even in the midst of struggles and trials. It should be an effortless thing for us, but we make it so much more complicated than it needs to be.

Why is it so hard to live a life like that? Do you find it hard to be grateful all the time? I wish it was a natural, innate act for me, but there are days when I have to forcefully choose gratefulness over bitterness. I have too much to be thankful for to let life's little bumps get me down. 

Gratitude comes a lot easier when I willingly show it to others around me. I think we underestimate the power of a kind word to someone, a simple, heartfelt thank you or telling them why you're so grateful for what someone has done. Compliments go a long way in changing one's attitude and heart--it can make all the difference in my day when someone stops to just take the time to tell me they care about me or are grateful for the work I've done. It seems to make it all worth it. That's what I'm striving to do lately--be more present in the little acts of gratitude. It doesn't have to be a big show; that kind of defeats the purpose. 

The thing about gratitude that we so often forget is that gratitude is an attitude, friends. Let's strive to live our days in that state of thankfulness--I know our lives would be much happier and more full of Christ. What have you been grateful for lately? I can't wait to chat with you, sweet friend. Xoxo

I'm linking up with Madison and Rach for another installment of Community Brew!

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