RC Blog November 2023
The Thanksgiving holiday and season is one of my all-time favorite times of the year! As the holiday season descends upon us, it is a popular time of year to focus on gratitude. It is a time of gathering and giving. We know we have much to be thankful for, and we celebrate that. However, adopting an everyday, year-round grateful mindset can be more difficult, especially living in our turbulent world coupled with our own personal challenges and stressors that happen in our own sphere of life.
If there is one thing that I have learned about embracing an attitude of gratitude, it is that it takes commitment, diligence, and daily practice. Our brains are naturally programmed to focus on what we do not have, rather than what we have, often creating cyclical negativity in our lives. Practicing gratitude can change that, as it enables us to put the power of healing and happiness in our own hands and re-wiring our minds to give us a more positive outlook.
Personally, as I strive to live my own best life, gratitude and appreciation helps me be more present and grounded, which in turn allows me to be more adaptive and creative. Through daily reflection, focusing on what works and what I have (versus what does not work, or what I do not have) heightens my awareness of my resources as well as my compassion for others. I can better connect with others and experience the full depth of blessings in my life.
Recently my long time Senior Pastor Rob Koke at Shoreline Church Austin offered four key tips for developing your attitude of gratitude. Implementing these four simple tools for my own life have made a substantial difference in exercising a deliberate attitude of gratitude in my own life and I would like to share them with you:
1) Worry Less - Worry about nothing - human nature tends to expect the worst to happen. Do not assume the responsibility that God never intended you to have. Fact: Studies indicate that 92% of things we worry about are useless. So, the bottom line is worry is worthless! It adds no value to your life, period.
Matthew 28:20 and Romans 8:32 – God is with us always.
2) Pray about Everything - If it is big enough for you to worry about it, it is big enough for you to instead pray about it. We can be much more productive with our time if we just learn to pray and give it to God instead of worry! God wants you to pour out your heart to Him. The bible tells us clearly to “Cast your cares on Him.”
1 Peter 5:7 – God is always thinking about you.
3) Thank God in all things! Doctors and therapists agree, the “attitude of gratitude” is the healthiest way for you to live life! Not only when certain things happen, but in all aspects of daily life. Learn to be joyful in the present. When you thank God, you will have peace.
I Thessalonians 5 – God is everything, let us give thanks.
4) Think on the Right Things - Fix your thoughts on things pure and lovely. Your mind is a powerful tool, choose what you focus your thoughts on. Worry (and fear) has its roots in your thoughts. Get rid of fear and change your thoughts. This peace that comes from God is to be able to declare with confidence that “ALL is well, regardless of what is going on around us.”
Proverbs 3:7 - Think about the right things, Philippians 4:7 - We have the peace of God.
While Thanksgiving and the holiday season are great reminders of the blessings we can count, I urge you to find ways to practice gratitude every day, regardless of the season. Whether through prayer, meditation, or a gratitude journal, the essential element in this is to reflect and become more aware of what you have and the positive events in your life, rather than what you lack. It is through this conscious, intentional gratitude that we can build better versions of ourselves and cultivate the happiness already present in our lives.
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