5 Reasons to Practice Gratitude (even If You Aren’t Feeling It)

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“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4  (see Psalm 100:1-5)

Are you feeling grateful?

Your response to a question like this is revealing, it is for all of us.

For example,

  • If you are facing major problems, that question might discourage you.
  • If you are under a lot of pressure and you just don’t have emotional margin to deal with a question like that, that question might annoy you.
  • If your life and leadership is in a good place, that question might be welcomed, and you smile as you consider a few things for which you are grateful.

You may want to be grateful but don’t always feel grateful. What’s the best and healthiest way to deal with that?

It’s important to start this post with candid honesty because we don’t always feel grateful, and while we know that’s the best disposition to live in, I’ll admit I have seasons where that’s not my first emotion. How about you?

Yet, it is the best mindset, and not just over the Thanksgiving holidays, but always.

Jesus is ultimately the reason for our gratitude, and He gives us so much in the human realm that we can be thankful for. But remember that the Enemy wants to rob you of this happiness and it takes intentional effort to remain grateful.

If you’re struggling to find a grateful spirit within you right now, first, don’t drift toward guilt, or force yourself to fake it. Challenging seasons are real and so is discouragement. But remaining there (discouraged) isn’t healthy and here are some practical things that can help.

  1. Talk with someone who loves you and understands your work. Just talking about it helps.
  2. Focus on one thing that you are extremely grateful for. For example, if I was really overwhelmed, I would focus on my grandchildren. They always lighten my soul and bring joy.
  3. Express gratitude to one person each day. Choosing someone you know helps you find gratitude even when you don’t feel it. Tell them why you are thankful for them. It doesn’t need to be long and involved, keep it short and simple, but it must be sincere.

A disposition of gratitude is healing to the soul and mind.

A disposition of gratitude is healing to the soul and mind.Click & Tweet!

5 Reasons to Practice Gratitude (Even if You Aren’t Feeling It)

1) The source of gratitude is humility.

Jesus modeled humility for us, coupled with His sacrifice, it’s part of the foundation of grace.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8

Humility makes room in your soul for a spirit of gratitude. Humility prepares your heart to be naturally thankful.

When each of us understand that we are a small part of a big world, (we are an important part and we matter, but we’re not the only one); we are poised to be a much more grateful person.

An ungrateful soul is an empty soul because it always wants more.

An ungrateful soul is an empty soul because it always wants more.Click & Tweet!

2) The wisdom of gratitude is perspective.

There is always someone who has more than you. Their life seems more exciting and better than yours, their kids seem smarter than yours, and their house is bigger than yours.

Comparing what you have to what others have may be natural, but it’s never helpful, and it often turns to unhealthy competition which can erode the spiritual health of your soul.

I’ve learned in my own journey as a Christian and a church leader that if envy has slowly crept its way into my life, my gratitude begins to fade, and I lose proper perspective.

In those moments I don’t see life or leadership accurately.

A grateful spirit always brings a better perspective to our lives. It helps us focus on all we do have and helps us see the blessings in our lives – which is a much better way to live.

3) The blessing of gratitude is peace. 

When we are genuinely grateful, we experience a sense of contentment which leads to greater peace.

A natural tension exists in our desire for contentment because as leaders we have an inner drive to achieve more. We want to reach more people for Christ, see more baptisms, see the church grow, marriages healed, and the list goes on.

That’s a good thing.

As leaders we should not become satisfied with status quo and settle for less than our best, but if that inner drive gets out of balance with grateful contentment, we lose our inner peace.

And God’s peace is one of His greatest blessings!

At the end of each day that you worked so diligently to make Kingdom progress, can you take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the peace of God’s presence?

Finding that balance is an essential practice in the rhythm of gratitude in your life.

When we are genuinely grateful, we experience a sense of contentment which leads to greater peace.Click & Tweet!

4) The example of gratitude is joy.

Grateful people are more joyful people, and leading with a joyful spirit always produces greater results.

All leaders set an example, but not all leaders set a good example.

The good news about a joyful attitude is that it’s a choice not a skill and it’s always enhanced by gratitude.

Leaders with a joyful spirit lead with a more naturally optimistic disposition, which leads to greater hope for the people they serve.  

Think about the leaders you personally are most willing to follow. My strong hunch is that they possess a joyful spirit and are full of faith and genuine hope in the future.

If each day you find what you are grateful for, you’ll find a source of joy, and you’ll naturally set this example for others.

Grateful people are more joyful people, and leading with a joyful spirit always produces greater results.Click & Tweet!

5) The gift of gratitude is generosity.

When gratitude is in your soul, you make room for generosity. It’s a natural response.

When you possess a soul level generosity, it enables you to want more for people than you want from them, and that’s one of the greatest gifts you can give those you serve.

The beautiful thing about this is that it creates a ripple effect. Your gratitude leads to your generosity and that generosity triggers both gratitude and generosity in others.

This generosity isn’t merely financial, in fact, its often more about things like time, kindness, ideas, empowerment, and trust etc.

It’s a continuing gift to the body of Christ because generosity becomes a way of living rather than a certain activity that you practice on specific occasions.

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I hope these thoughts are of great encouragement to you and feel free to use them if you are giving a devotional or talk on gratitude.