Photography: Angie Garcia Photography
Have you seen those health-related memes that say things like, “You are a human. Not a dog. Don’t reward yourself with food?”
Those make me laugh because I respond really well to food. Yesterday was a 5/10 day so this morning I REWARDED myself with a bagel and cream cheese from Starbucks. Can you even imagine?
That has ZERO relation to this post, but maybe if you’re new here if gives you a better idea of who I am.
If you’re like me – you also respond well to lists. My love for them runs too deep I think. As I mentioned in my post on Monday, gratitude is more than saying thank you or even just feeling thankful for something someone does – it’s a state of being.
Gratitude is an attitude, sister!
It’s true – lame rhyme and all.
The idea of “always being grateful” found in Colossians 3:15 seems really second nature, but I think it’s a little more tough than we may think. Below is a list that might serve as a guide for reflection or as an easy place to start.
I’m going to pick a few to really focus on today and this week. You want to do it with me? Let me know which ones in the comment section below!!
10 Steps to a Grateful Heart
1. Pray for it – I had to do the obvious one first. It’s obvious, but how often do we overlook prayer? Start with humility before God. After all, it’s not going to happen without Him anyway!
2. Serve others – I don’t know how often I heard growing up, “It’s not about you.” Thank you LORD for that. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about God and loving Him so much that you can’t help but tell others, serve others, and love others. This step can be as small or big as you want. Do a small favor for someone – tell them you’re praying for them or bring them coffee (or a bagel with cream cheese!). If you feel led, try something bigger like mentoring someone or helping someone/an organization financially.
3. Remove Excess – This one is tough but is so rewarding. Are you spending too much time in front of screens? Cut them out. Are you eating or drinking too much bad stuff? Cut it out. Are you hanging out with people who are draining you spiritually or emotionally? Cut them out (nicely). Give yourself a break, girl. We are faced with constant input that won’t ever stop unless we learn to remove some of it.
4. Write down your top 3 – This one is a great solution in a moment of stress, anger, etc. I did this yesterday. Write down the top 3 things/people/characteristics of God/whatever you are grateful for in that moment. Quickly run through them and thank God for them. Easy! My list brought me to tears because God shows up in those moments and it’s beautiful.
5. Be present and intentional with your time – Disconnect. Listen well to the people you’re with and genuinely give them your attention. Ask questions. Give affirmations. Have the meaningful conversations. You’ll make an impact on someone and create an atmosphere that allows God to move.
6. Don’t dwell – reflect + learn – I want to be sensitive on this one because things have happened to people that I’ve never come close to experiencing. Processing things and healing from them take time and I totally respect that. What I can speak on are my own experiences and the lessons I’ve learned from holding onto things for too long and making myself a victim. If it’s something that you know is small – don’t keep it stored up in your heart too long and let bitterness creep in.
7. Thank the people in your life – This one is more simple than some for the others and it’s fun! Maybe it’s your parents who deserve this – maybe a sibling, family, friends, or a mentor. Write them a letter, call them, or send them text thanking them for pouring into your life. Create all the sweet little warm fuzzies!
8. Remove comparison – This one MEGA applies to me. It’s something that I’ve really struggled with my whole life. As a society, as Christ followers, we have got to learn to appreciate the qualities in others that we don’t have ourselves. I’ll be honest – comparison is an instant reaction for me. If you catch yourself in a weak moment, try to shut it down instantly. There’s a saying that goes something like this, “There’s always someone prettier, smarter, or better than you so don’t stress. Maybe you’re that person to someone else.” That way of thinking bothers me, though. I think that thought makes us elevate ourselves in a way and doesn’t remove the desire to compare. Just a thought – I’ll get off my soap box.
9. “If you can’t say anything nice…” – I know you know it. At the risk of sounding lame, I think that phrase is really valuable haha. We’re repeatedly instructed to control our tongues in scripture. Under the radar comments or jokes can do harm to whom they are directed and to ourselves. I don’t want those words hanging out in my head or my heart! If it isn’t encouraging, beneficial, or Godly why should we say it?
10. Keep scripture close – the word of God has the answer for everything and has the power to heal anything. Let’s fill our hearts with it. Let’s allow it to live there, work from there, and produce good.
You are my refuge and my shield;
your word is my source of hope.
Wow you made it through all 10! What a trooper. Start with a few and ask God for help. I’m excited to take this on with you.
Let me know which ones you’re doing in the comments! As always, thank you for reading and see you Friday!
– Caitlin –