Change the Small to Improve the Big
The definition of Gratitude might surprise you:
"the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness."
I love words that level-up other words. Gratitude is thankful with a call to action. It's beginning with what you have and using it to make this world a better place. We've all been told to "be thankful for what you have." As much as we hate to admit it, part of us knows it's true, and the other part of us just wants to roll our eyes. We know we should be thankful, but did you know that the act of gratitude actually builds trust with God? I have two verses that keep me grounded when I feel like nothing's going my way:
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Luke 16:10 "One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much..."
Every day, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Let's work to get our minds right and maximize what we do have! Here's how:
Start with prayer/meditation. If you never think about your blessings, how can you be grateful for them? As a mother that works in sports, no two days of the week are the same. On any random Tuesday I might be at practice, on a bus or plane, in the gym, or at home on an off day. I need a part of the day that I claim as mine. So I wake up early just to do my "first 15": 5 minutes of worship+5 minutes of prayer+5 minutes of Bible reading. I learned this practice from my church: Church of the Highlands. Twice a year, we participate in 21 Days of Prayer. This is corporate prayer every day before work and school for 21 consecutive days. We livestream the services for those that can't actually come to church. Click here to see how it works!
Think of something you regularly do and do it for someone else. Your morning coffee, gas in your car, that pizza you have to get on Thursdays because your staff meetings run late and both kids have gymnastics-- what if you didn't have that? What would you have to do to adjust to not having those things? Guess what? You probably bump into 100 people every day that do the exact same thing. Next time you're in line somewhere, whisper to the person at the register that you would like to buy the next person's coffee. Put enough kindness into the world where you can look back on bad days and remember "I did something nice for someone else for no reason."
Speak Gratitude! Do more than say "thank you," spend time telling people what you are thankful for. If you come home and your spouse did the dishes, don't just say "thanks for getting the dishes done," level up your thankfulness by saying "thanks for doing the dishes, you don't know how relieved I am to come home and not have to do that!" In your work place, don't just say thanks for getting that turned in," instead make sure you tell that coworker "thanks for turning that in, it makes me feel good to know when I get behind, you guys are still on time with your due dates."
Change the world around you and let me know how it's going!