by Beth A Richardson on November 7, 2011 · 53 comments

Fresh Cranberries

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.

Cultivate Gratitude

  1. 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.
  2. Say a grace before each meal. Also say a grace before you engage in a new activity.
  3. Each time you pick up the phone, receive or send a text, or look at an email or letter, give thanks for that person.
  4. 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.
  5. Say a prayer of thanks at the end of the day.
  6. 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.

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / ThinkStock

laura flippen tenzel November 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

grateful AND . . ._____ those words will remain with me always. today’s message stated grateful and fearful at the same time. today I am grateful and frustrated at the same time. balance. grace. mercy.

Juliana September 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Speaking of gratitude, I just wanted to leave a note expressing how grateful I am for the daily e-mails from Alive Now. Beth Richardson, there’s no question in my mind that your ministry blesses many souls in God’s kingdom. I just wanted to encourage you in that the e-mails alone have made a big difference in my devotional life!

I went to college in the U.S., but I’m Brazillian and have been back in Brazil for seven years now. Do you ship internationally? I have also been thinking about getting the digital issue of the magazine. Thank you so much for being obedient to God’s call in your life! Blessings now and always!

Beth Richardson September 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

Hi, Juliana,

Thank you for taking the time to post. I’m so glad that you are receiving the emails — and spiritual nourishment.

We do ship internationally. I think it adds a bit to the subscription price. Here is the order form page and you can see that you would select “foreign”:

The digital edition would be a great option for you — if you have a tablet to view it on, especially. Here’s the page that tells you more about that:

Thanks again for your kind words.

Many blessings,

Mary Maloney November 21, 2012 at 7:07 am

Dear Beth and All, I am so grateful for a safe and wonderful time away from the farm with my husband. God has been so good!! On to the Advent season tho not untill after THANKSGIVING. My Love and Prayers Always for wonderful spiritual guidance, Mary Maloney

tracey June 26, 2013 at 4:08 am

Thank you. I often struggle with commandments, because they so not provide an alternative thought or action. In reading the above, where gratefulness replaces fear, I have a way to rid myself of fear, not just a command to not fear! This arrived at a timely manner for my often fearful soul. And…I’m grateful!

Juliana June 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

Praise God, Tracey! I felt encouraged for the same reasons!

Joan June 29, 2013 at 9:39 am

So very grateful for this article. This is a practice that is so counter-intuitive for me, yet so rich and so necessary. I need reminders to return to it and to stay grounded in it. Thank you for this!

Cynthia Sloan January 30, 2015 at 6:33 am

Beautiful Reminder
As I minster to the least of these drug addict women
May that see in themselves more greatness in themselves

Joan February 1, 2015 at 7:55 am

Definitely words to hear deeply this weekend, thank you!

Sam Battiest August 6, 2015 at 5:37 am

Thanks to Alive Now for the ideas on how to practice gratitude.

Brinda LeBleu December 18, 2015 at 7:36 am

Thank you for the words you share!

Brinda LeBleu December 18, 2015 at 7:37 am

Thank you for the words you share! Brinda

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