How to Grow in Gratitude

It's that time of year when your Social Media timeline fills with declarations of thankfulness.

The practice is helpful (especially in a year like 2020).

But have you ever tried that particular social experiment only to find your gratitude muscles still underdeveloped?



Growing Beyond superficial Gratitude

First, own your grumbling heart.


People gravitate toward grumbling. A hundred things could be going right, yet we fixate on the one negative.


Know this about yourself — even as God gives you good gifts, your inclination will be toward unbelief and ingratitude.


"Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise. They grumbled in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the LORD." - Psalm 106:24-25

Second, choose genuine gratitude.

Thankfulness is a choice and a discipline that we must cultivate. We can conform to the grumbling of our world or shine as children of the light.

"Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." - Philippians 2:14-16

We must daily choose the way of gratitude because it's the way of Jesus.


Third, keep a detailed gratitude journal.

Notice the word "detailed" because our thankfulness is often too general.


Daily repeating thankfulness for your life, home, and family isn't going to do much to crush your tendency toward grumbling.


Here is what a detailed gratitude journal looks like:


Each day

  • Write three parts of your life for which you're grateful.

  • Choose from the past 24 hours.

  • Don't allow yourself to repeat the three.

Fourth, sit with gratitude.


Don't work hard to list three fresh items you’re grateful for and then rush into the rest of your day.

Take a few minutes to sit and:

  • Think about those parts of your life.

  • Pay attention to the emotions and sensations you feel in your body as you reflect.

  • Thank God out loud for each of these gifts.

Grow in Gratitude


Strengthening gratefulness is work, but it's worth it.


Grumblers are miserable and challenging to be around. A grateful person experiences joy, and others enjoy them.

Let's choose gratitude this month and every other as well.

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." - Colossians 2:6-7

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