I love all things Thanksgiving – family, friends, church services, food, desserts, walks, playing Thanksgiving day football, watching football… the list goes on. I also really love our gratitude time around the table. Sometimes, the expressions of gratitude are simple, which is fine, and sometimes, they are moving, which is always amazing. The only thing I don’t like about Thanksgiving is that we move on to Christmas (which I love), and that spirit of thankfulness always seems to take a backseat. We move into consumer, shopper, crazy busy mode in the matter of one… Black Friday!
Well, I want to encourage you as a Godly Leader to work hard to keep that spirit and practice gratitude all year. Here are three essential steps to living a life of gratitude beyond Thanksgiving.
#1 – RECOGNIZE YOUR WORTH AND OTHERS’ WORTH.
Gratitude, on the deepest level, is a reflection, acknowledgment, and acceptance of our worth – to God or other people. When we choose gratitude, we accept ourselves as worthy and give ourselves permission to be loved. Recognizing that God has created us and others around us in His image changes everything. We criticize ourselves and others less. We stop making fun of others. We have essential gratitude for the essence of life and God’s love. That is a core ingredient of Godly Leadership.
#2 – CHOOSE JOY.
Every day, choose joy. Every morning, choose joy. The theologian Karl Barth said, “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” If you want to be known as a person who oozes gratitude, then it is essential for the Godly Leader to choose joy. 1 Peter 1:8 puts it this way, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” Godly Leader, your choice to believe in Jesus as your Savior and Lord fills you with an inexpressible and glorious joy. Read that again. What a remarkable declaration! Believe it + choose it + live it = Joy. It’s an old acronym but really helpful – JOY: Jesus, Others, You! Now that’s a great way to live the life of gratitude.
#3 – GET VERY PRACTICAL.
Not that the #1 and #2 points above aren’t practical, but let’s take it up a notch. I’m a big systems guy. I believe systems are essential to create consistent, repeating patterns and practices. Godly Leader, if you want to live a life of gratitude beyond Thanksgiving, try some of these ideas and systems out:
- Each morning say out loud three things you’re thankful for to start the day.
- In your journal, start a gratitude section.
- Keep an encouragement file of notes, cards, and emails so that when you get discouraged, you can read those and have gratitude flood your mind and heart as you read through them.
- Use technology to send at least three “gratitude only” – no agenda – texts or emails per week.
- Cool a hot temper by calling out a list of things you are thankful for.
- Tell your spouse and kids why you’re thankful for them at least three times a week.
- Tell your boss and close co-workers why you’re thankful for them each week, not just what they can do for you.
- Train your mind and pray for strength to have a “glass half full” of gratitude perspective on life. When trouble comes, work hard to find the silver lining.
- Always say thank you when someone says or does something nice or helpful for you.
- Always send a follow-up card or text after a gift or out-of-the-way assist.
We could talk a lot more on this topic, but we’ll leave it there for now. What are your thoughts or questions? Leave them in the comments. If you found this blog helpful or thought-provoking, please subscribe below to receive a new blog in your email every other Tuesday morning. Also, if you think this blog would benefit others, please share it on social media or tell a few friends about it!
Love being on this Essential Godly Leadership journey with you!
Essential Godly Leadership: “Leading your life, your family, your work, your relationships, and your world in a way that is seeking wisdom from, and pleasing to, the Lord Jesus.”