How To Cultivate A Grateful Heart – A Gratitude Challenge
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Definition of gratitude: the state of being grateful: Thankfulness
As I was having (yet another) discussion about patience with my 3-year-old the other day, things took an unsuspecting twist.
Me: Baby girl, where is your patience right now?
Baby girl: “In here,” she said (pointing to her heart)
Me: Right, our patience comes from our heart! Is it hard to be patient? Can we do it on our own?
Her: It’s hard Mommy, I want to yell and cry. But Jesus can help, right? I don’t need to throw a fit?
One excited Me: That’s right pumpkin! We can ask Jesus to help us use our words instead of throwing a fit.
and then: Yes, ’cause Mommies don’t throw fits right?
gulp… my heart was convicted
I’ll be the first to admit that statement is not true. She’s seen it first hand. I have thrown fits. Yes, even ones much like my 3-year-old. Often these “fits” stem from my bad attitude and wrong focus. I can look at everything in a negative light, instead of focusing on the reasons I have to be thankful. When I give in to my own sinfulness, I often allow myself to sit with an ungrateful heart.
I’ve been consumed by circumstances, thrown by unmet expectations, disappointed and discontent with life.
Time and again I have woken up only to take every last blessing God has graciously given me for granted. I’ve thrown gratitude out the window and opened the door for ungratefulness to make a home.
But does that even really matter? Does gratitude actually impact our daily life?
Why should we cultivate a grateful heart anyways?
Gratitude can be broken down to appreciating what God has given you in your life. Practicing gratitude though is not always simple. Yes, it can be tough, but as believers cultivating a heart of gratitude should be a regular part of our lives. When things are hectic or stressful, finding the silver lining can be challenging, but learning how to embrace gratitude can be a powerful tool in your toolbox! Being grateful offers a host of other benefits you’re probably not aware of, too.
Let’s take a closer look at cultivating a grateful heart, the ways it can improve your life and some practical steps you can take to get started today!
Maybe like me, you’ve found that people have many different definitions of gratitude. Some people believe it’s a feeling or emotion. Others look at it as more of a mood. Still, some people believe gratitude is more like a personality trait a person exhibits – “some people are just positive people”.
These can all play a part, but let’s look at what God says about giving thanks.
Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
There are things that cause us to give thanks easily. There are people who are also the same. But even those of us who may be more inclined to feel grateful on a regular basis (those with glass-half-full-optimism) likely still need to work on “practicing gratitude”. As with other practices, you’ll get better at demonstrating gratitude the more you work at it and keep an open heart. The more you practice gratitude, the more opportunities God gives you to share your thankfulness with others. When we live with a thankful heart and are grateful to Christ for all He has done in our lives, it spreads – the fragrance of God’s goodness is shared thru us!
What are the Benefits of Embracing Gratitude?
There are a lot of benefits of gratitude in addition to the spiritual. Many of them have been scientifically proven. There are studies that show that gratitude improves relaxation, sleep quality and energy levels! Gratitude can have a positive effect on both physical and mental health. Being thankful for your blessings can enhance your emotional wellness. You’ll deal better in crisis situations and find you’re more resilient when you’re able to look on the bright side. This can contribute to better relationships, too. Appreciating the positives in life can simply make you feel happier.
I’ve found embracing gratitude to be a necessary piece to help support good mental health. The combination of time in God’s word, practicing gratitude and using essential oils has helped our family in an incredible way! For more information on the health benefits of gratitude, take a peek at this video by my friend Candace of His Mercy is New on Why Gratitude is Good for Your Health. Curious about essential oils? Please reach out and message or email me your questions or check out this post on how to get started the easy way!
Even More Benefits of Embracing Gratitude
As a Mama of 5 who is focused on parenting the heart of our children, I can’t skip over this huge benefit! I mean, who doesn’t want grateful kids? Mamas, let’s not ignore the fact that gratitude is also contagious. Once you begin to intentionally cultivate a grateful heart and experience the benefits yourself, chances are those closest to you (including your hubby and kids) will begin to notice and follow. This often, in turn, helps them cultivate a thankful heart. I want to encourage you to take some small intentional steps each day. I believe you’ll quickly see why it’s so important to continue to develop a grateful mindset!
How to Practice Gratitude
Recognizing your blessings may not come easily at first, but there are some ways to help make it a habit and a regular part of your routine. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you without some practical tips, I want to help you! Over the next 4 days, I want to challenge you to take some very intentional steps towards growing in thankfulness with me.
We are going to look at How to Cultivate a Grateful Heart together!
Over the 5-day challenge we’ll discuss:
How to Choose Gratitude Throughout Your Day
How to Show Gratitude by Using Your Words
Make sure to bookmark or pin this post to refer back to. If you are a part of our email community you’ll receive these tips by email. Not a member? Join here and get access to FREE Biblical Resources as well!
Join us in our Imperfect Moms Private Facebook group where we can encourage each other in the challenge to Cultivate a Grateful Heart!
See you there!
O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life. Lamentations 3:56