No, I don’t mean you should pursue a new career tailing wayward spouses to document infidelity. Sadly, that is a much-too-oft-needed profession, but it’s not one that most of us could stomach for very long.
My encouragement is for you to pursue something much more uplifting. I want you to become a private detective in your own life and begin a daily and diligent search for reasons for gratitude. Not only do I want you to search, I want you to write down what you find. EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Just do a quick Google search on the benefits of gratitude. You’ll be astounded at the studies that have been Grt and the scientific evidence substantiating the positive impact that results from an attitude of gratitude.
For many years, I have kept a gratitude journal. Each morning, I write down four or five highlights from the previous day. Sometimes, it’s seeing a beautiful sunrise. The joy of watching a mare and her foal gallop around a pasture. A special visit with an encouraging friend. Savoring a delicious Georgia peach. An email saying that a recent blog post touched someone’s heart. The privilege of living in America, of walking into a grocery story filled with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Each and every day, I find reasons to say “thank you” to God.
Here’s what a practice of being grateful has done for me:
1. Gratitude improves my mental outlook. Yes, all of us have hard things in our lives. My “hard” might look different than yours, but no one’s life stays easy for very long. The big question is whether we focus on the positives or the negatives. I prefer the view from “taking the high road.”
2. Gratitude is winsome. Who would you rather be around? Someone who can point out the deficiencies in every situation and person? Or someone who sees the best and encourages others to do the same?
3. Gratitude is good for your health. If you don’t believe me, just start reading the results from the many studies that have been done. Having a daily habit of gratitude reduces blood pressure, improves sleep, increases energy, promotes longevity and reduces illness.
4. Gratitude begets gratitude. When you establish the habit of gratitude, you approach life differently. You are on the lookout for the beautiful, the lovely, the small details of daily life that are so special. The more you begin to notice, the more you will find.
5. Gratitude is just plain good manners. Most of us teach our children to say thank you for gifts they receive. And we enjoy hearing that a thoughtful deed or gift we have given has been meaningful to someone. I believe that there is a Giver behind all of these good gifts that I receive. And I want Him to know how much I appreciate His thoughtfulness.
6. Written gratitude helps me remember the good things. I use a 5-Year Journal made by Levenger. And I love to look back and remember the countless beautiful, encouraging things that have happened in my life. You think you won’t forget…but you do! “The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.”
7. Gratitude leads to a godly life. Whether or not you believe the story of Adam and Eve, think about the lessons of where their trouble started. They were in the midst of the Garden of Eden. And instead of focusing on the bounty and beauty that surrounded them, Eve began to focus on the one tree that God said was off limits. Isn’t that so true in our own lives, too? When our focus shifts from the abundance of our blessings to what we don’t have, isn’t that the first step towards trouble?
Give it a try. Become a detective in daily search of reasons for gratitude. Write down what you find. Whether you are a person of faith or not, you’ll be better off. And so will the people around you.
I’d love to hear how this daily discipline changes your life!
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”
Philippians 4:8 The Message