From last week…I realize “how” we show our gratitude can be a personal matter, but permit me to suggest some basic disciplines that can benefit us all. I hope you find them helpful.
Spend time around grateful people. Our attitudes in life are contagious. If we spend all of our time around bitter people we will be prone to depression, but if we walk with the grateful, we will be encouraged by their perspectives on life. Certainly, we should reach out to those who are hurting, and we should not try to shelter ourselves from reality by only spending time with those who have a positive outlook on life. Yet, the people we socialize with will affect our attitude, and it is easier to perceive God’s goodness when those around us are thankful.
Be habitual in thanksgiving. The family I was raised in always prayed before mealtime. We took turns praying, and to be honest some days our hearts were in better places than others. As a young adult I spent time around people who were a little cynical about mealtime prayer. In fact, sometimes they were downright disrespectful, making a point to distract me when I bowed to pray. Later, I married and had children of my own, and praying before mealtime became a priority, and a teaching tool. Now, my wife and I pray without much thought as to who might be watching, or some statement we might be making to the world. Our simple prayers before mealtime have become natural because they first became habitual. I am glad I never allowed others to discourage me from this simple time with God.
Finally, give God a place at joyous events in your life. I am always humbled when I am asked to pray for military retirements or milestone birthdays and anniversaries. I remember the prayers our family members have prayed at weddings, and other important gatherings. When I attend an event where people are celebrating and no one takes time to thank God, it feels awkward to me. At the risk of sounding judgmental, I don’t think any big event in our lives should pass without praising God for His goodness.