I have noticed something simple and profound all at the same time.
Acting grateful makes me feel grateful. This sounds really silly even as I write it. But the opposite is also true, when I don’t act grateful, I don’t feel grateful.
Let me give you an example, I am one who writes thank you notes to people. In fact, frequently, I mean, throughout the day or week, I spot an event or a person and I think to myself, “I’m going to write him a note.” I make lists of people I want to thank. I pray over them and their families. I begin to think of all the ways I’m grateful that person is in my life and the next time I see that person, I feel a swell of gratitude, I can’t help it. The very act of writing the note has increased my feelings of gratitude.
The truth is the discipline of writing thank you notes was always, just that, a discipline. A mentor of mine encouraged me to write two thank you notes a day. It seemed monumental when he asked me to take on the challenge. Until it wasn’t. It became a practice that I regularly did – write the note, pray for the individual or family…and then experience the increase of gratitude in my life.
This summer I got bogged down in planning for the fall, going on mission trips, acclimating new staff members, a vacation…you know…I got out of the practice of writing the thank you notes, which means that I lost the benefits of feeling grateful. Because remember, the practice increases gratitude in me and blesses me.
And I started to feel less gratitude in EVERY PLACE in my life. I scrutinized more fully the manner in which my groceries were packed. I noticed that there was too much mayonnaise in the chicken salad. I just couldn’t get to a place of seeing that everyone is doing the best they can…I just wasn’t grateful, at all.
So, I started to pay attention again, making my lists, praying for people and their families and sending notes. And guess what? The chicken salad is perfect! My groceries? Packed impeccably. My whole heart center has shifted toward thankfulness because my actions are those of someone who is grateful.
Gratitude and thankfulness feel so much better as a practice than their opposite.
With deepest appreciation, Pastor Meredith
“I thank my God every time I remember you…”Philippians 1:3a