Choosing Gratitude

 I have been stumped over what exactly I wanted my 2021 word of the year or goal to be.  I have a tendency to just strive to do it all, "better", and let me tell you-that goal is too lofty.  I've tried and tried to end a year "better" than the year before but it's not only a lofty goal but a hard one to measure.  

Yesterday morning I was reading this devotional, {it's a devotional-not a Bible study-but I'm really enjoying it before I dive into God's word} Find Rest, by Shaunti Feldhahn, and it was like she was speaking directly to me.  I instantly knew THIS is what I want my goal for 2021 to be, choosing gratitude.

How this would have helped me so much during the past year if I'd focused more and more on all the good versus the devastation happening around our country.  So, in 2021 I'm doing it!  I'm gonna be looking to choose gratitude and a grateful heart first.  My goal is by the end of the year I can look back and see how my thoughts and actions veered toward all I had to be grateful for first before a negative thought crossed my mind.  I want to share the devotion I read yesterday because it was so good!  Maybe it'll pull at your heart strings too.

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"All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast"-Proverbs 15:15

Not Just an Attitude

During one of my research studies, I learned how important it is in life and relationship for people to be able to "look on the bright side" of things.  I discovered that temperament and personality type do not determine cheerfulness.  In fact, several of my study participants described themselves as recovering pessimists."  The key to living a cheerful life is choosing gratitude.

Transforming graditude chooses to view the glass as half full.  When your son unpacks his backpack in the middle of the kitchen table just minutes before dinner, you say how glad you are to see that he's not putting off studying until bedtime-and resist asking if he would like the family to eat on the floor while he does his homework.

Transforming gratitude chooses to intentionally repeat the positive rather than the negative.  When someone asks how your holiday break was, you talk about the food, fun, and family, and completely skip over the complaining cousin you had to endure for a week.

Transforming gratitude chooses to focus on the one piece of good news amidst a cluster of bad.  Your flight for the business trip was delayed two hours, the toddler in the next seat spilled his mom's coffee on you, and your rental car wasn't ready.  But when your boyfriend asks how your trip is going, you tell him you landed safely and the view is beautiful, mentioning nothing of the hassles in getting there.  

Transforming gratitude chooses to believe the best about someone when we know the worst about them.  Yes, your college student has overdrawn their account multiple times, but you tell her how proud you are of her hard work, and you continue to send her money for food and toiletries, trusting that eventually she will learn to manage better.

Transforming gratitude chooses to overlook minor offenses rather than magnify them.  When your husband reaches up to open the door of the church to usher you in for a friend's wedding, and his arm bumps your head and knocks your hair clip out, you smile, and excuse yourself to fix it rather than having an exasperated sigh.

Transforming gratitude is not always easy, but it is a choice any of us can make.  The beautiful irony is that when we work to practice this choice, we discover that we don't have to work hard at cheerfulness and joy in life because now they come much more naturally.

"Negative people need drama like oxygen. Stay positive, it'll take their breath away."-Tony Gaskins

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Again that was from the Find Rest devotional by Shaunti Feldhahn but it really spoke to my heart so I wanted to share.  In 2021, I'm choosing gratitude first!  And hope you do too!

Here's to reaching those 2021 goals, friends!

XO

16 comments

Elspeth Mizner said...

Love this!! My word for the new year is being intentional!
www.elspethsdaybyday.com

The Stantons said...

Message...received. First day for the kiddos to go back to school..I got up to make their favorite muffins, everything was in the bowl...went to get milk and eggs and no eggs! How hard is it to mention we are out? Can we write it on the list? I told everyone I was baking in the morning.....I substituted applesauce and they are baking. I got my coffee, crabby, cranky and read your post. Thank you. I feel silly...and your message hit me perfectly hard! Gratitude. Running out of eggs....not a good reason to be grumpy!!

Tabby Passwaters said...

Best post EVER!!! I absolutely love this. I really needed to hear this. You are such a blessing to me every morning!!

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing! Everyone can take something from this!

Jenny said...

What great perspectives. Thanks for sharing ❤

Unknown said...

Beautiful post! So many great examples, thanks for sharing! ✨💛

Julie Bradford said...

WOW!!!! This is something most all of us need to work on and she couldn't have put it any clearer! Thank you for this!!!!
Have a great day Erika!

Jenny said...

This is a great post and one that myself personally should read daily so I don't forget it! Think how much more amazing this world would be if we all did this!!

Jan Fisher said...

I Love this!!!! Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

This hit me right in the face!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!! Just ordered the book.

Mix and Match Mama said...

Writing in a daily gratitude journal was life-changing for me!! So many wonderful things happen when you choose (and it's a choice!) gratitude!

Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said...

What a great post! We have so much to be grateful and thankful for, and it should totally be a priority for all of us to be mindful of all of the blessings!

Memphis Bridges said...

Wow, this is an amazing perspective, yet simple and challenging all at the same time. Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for this!

Angie N said...

Erika, I've never commented before but read your blog daily. Thank you for sharing this! I needed to hear it this morning. I'm striving to be a glass half full person instead of a glass half empty! Have a great day!

Kelly Henderson said...

Take us to church! Whoa, this is a powerful post. I am a very positive person, always have been and always will be. I can't love this post any more.