by Beth A. Richardson
A good friend’s husband was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Together they went through two months of unknowns, hospitalization, and surgeries. Later, she reflected on that time and said, “Not once during those months was I afraid. I was so grateful for all the people who were helping in so many ways. And I found that I could not be grateful and fearful at the same time.”
Gratitude and its close cousin, joy, result from action, not just feeling. Active joyfulness brings with it an awareness of who we are and an acknowledgment that all we have are gifts from a generous, loving God. We search for signs of the good in the people and situations around us. We work to give up selfish perspectives and join more closely in the movements of God in the world.
Living from the perspective of gratitude and joy, our hearts remain open to the Spirit’s influence; we stay connected to God’s guidance. Being grateful for God’s good in our lives displaces our fears and dissatisfactions and replaces them with God’s presence.
Loving God, help me be the face of joy to someone who might be struggling today. If I am facing struggles of my own, gently guide my thoughts toward gratitude, that I may rejoice always in you. Amen.
Carry These Words in Your Heart Today:
Replace my fear with gratitude.
- Make a gratitude list. Write down 7-10 things on the list each day. Download a Gratitude app to your mobile device or purchase a blank book specifically for keeping your gratitude list.
- Say a grace before each meal. Also say a grace before you engage in a new activity.
- Each time you pick up the phone, receive or send a text, or look at an email or letter, give thanks for that person.
- If you are struggling with fear, sadness, or hopelessness, stop what you are doing and jot down a list of 5 things for which you are grateful.
- Say a prayer of thanks at the end of the day.
- Share your tips on gratitude with the Alive Now community in the comments area.
Source: From The Uncluttered Heart by Beth A. Richardson. © 2009 by Upper Room Books. Used with permission.
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