And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
When was the last time you were intentionally grateful? I don’t mean giving thanks before a meal, saying thank you to the person who held the door for you, or even the prayer of thanks I uttered the other day for finally being able to find the keys a certain toddler may or may not have stuffed in the couch cushions. No, I mean when was the last time you really were intentional about living the entirety of your life with gratefulness?
How do we go about living a grateful life? Do we even know what that looks like? I recently read an article on grateful living that got me thinking about how this plays out in our daily lives.[i] We live in a crazy, busy, self-absorbed society. This is certainly not a new development, nor should it come as a surprise to any of us. Yet through the development of modern technology, communication, and the astoundingly easy access to news, we have no choice in many ways, but to deal with these facts, perhaps more than we would like.
In a world filled with noise, it is hard to live a grateful life. We are faced with questions such as, “How can we make a difference in the world?” and, “How can we care for the least of these without neglecting ourselves when there are so many people who need our help?” The article I read suggests a three-pronged approach to grateful living: STOP, LOOK, and GO.
Many of us have a tendency to act reflexively to the situations in which we might find ourselves. Grateful living invites us to pause and consider instead of simply reacting. By intentionally stopping, we allow ourselves to connect with that which is truly important to our core selves. What values and principles are so important to us that they are a part of our very being? In what ways are we taking those things for granted? In what ways are we neglecting those areas? In short, we STOP to become grounded and to gain perspective.
The second piece of grateful living is LOOK. This is an invitation to notice our surroundings and our opportunities. Remember the values and principles that are a part of our very core? Where are we seeing those lived out? What opportunities allow us to focus more on those areas? Finally, we also must look outside of ourselves at others who have gone before us and to those who walk beside us. What can we learn from them? How can they be a source of hope to us? We are not alone in this life.
The remaining piece of grateful living is to GO. We have identified those things about which we are most passionate. We have found clarity and companionship, so now is the time to take action. The amazing thing about identifying the things for which we are most grateful is that taking action in those areas can be invigorating and be a source of unexpected energy.
Grateful living calls each of us to a greater level of consciousness. It is not merely a reflective act, but a call to action. It is an invitation to identify and act upon those things we hold most dear. Let’s be intentional about living a grateful life.
Creator God, teach us to live with intentional gratefulness; not to react, but to focus on the passions you have given to each one of us and the actions you are calling us to take.
[i] Kristi Nelson, Standing our Sacred, Grateful Ground, A Network for Grateful Living. http://gratefulness.org/blog/standing-our-sacred-grateful-ground-activism-gratitude-social-justice/
Posted on Thu, February 9, 2017
by Micah James