If you live in America and you celebrate Thanksgiving, you’re familiar with the fact that November is our culture’s month of gratitude. You might be doing a thankfulness challenge on social where you post something you’re thankful for each day of November or maybe you are being intentional about being extra generous this month. But how can we foster a life full of gratitude BEYOND the month of November?
KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
While I’m nowhere near perfect at keeping up with journals, I think there is SO much value in them! There’s so much value in being able to reflect back on old journals to see how much you’ve grown, how much you’ve been blessed over the years, and be reminded of the things that have shaped you to be the person you are.
If you’re using a regular journal (without prompts) it can be easy to get stuck and only think of very surface level blessings. Click here to download a my list of 85 prompts for your gratitude journal which will help you recognize the big and little things you can be thankful for in your life!
I incorporate my gratitude journal into my daily devotion. In my Well Watered Woman journal there is a section for a daily gratitude on each day and I dedicate that towards gratitude for a character of God that I’ve been learning about lately, a physical or spiritual blessing, or people in my life that I’m thankful for.
If you don’t want to keep up with a physical journal, Grateful is an awesome gratitude journal app. This app gives you daily reminders to write an entry, gives daily prompts to help you think more creatively, and also allows you to upload images that are related to your gratitude for the day.
INTENTIONALLY PRACTICE HOSPITALITY
One of the best ways to show gratitude is by sharing what you have with others, whether it’s your home, the food in your pantry, or a card sharing your love through words. I recently completed the She Reads Truth study on Biblical Hospitality and boy was it convicting for me.
I love this little excerpt on what hospitality exactly is, “Biblical hospitality is about more than sharing a meal or inviting friends over. It is the work of making room in our lives for others. True hospitality is a posture of charity toward the poor, of welcome toward the displaced, and of humility and gentleness toward the hurting.”
Here are a few helpful ways to practice hospitality in your own life…
- Dedicate a couple hours every month towards organizing cards to send for the following month. These can be anything from birthday cards to just because cards!
- Invite someone over for dinner once a month.
- Make some baked goods for your neighbor.
- Offer to babysit for someone in your life who needs a date night.
- Host a game night.
- Ask someone to join you on a coffee date (and buy their coffee).
SERVE CONSISTENTLY WITH A LOCAL NON PROFIT
While I think that it’s important to be serving regularly with nonprofits in your area, I think there is extra value in consistently serving with the same organization. This will build stronger relationships, allow you to be involved at a deeper level, and ultimately will make a bigger impact on your community. A lot of jealousy (one of the opposites of thankfulness) stems from focusing on what you think YOU want and what YOU think you need. Service is the perfect way to get your focus off of yourself and become more dedicated towards seeing the needs of others.
CHOOSING TO BE THANKFUL IN THE GOOD AND BAD TIMES
Notice that I didn’t say “choose to be bright and bubbly and happy in good and bad times”. When hard times hit (which it’s not a matter of IF, it’s WHEN), it is okay to grieve and struggle with your circumstances. However, it is very important to choose gratuity in hard times. While it’s difficult to see the long term fruit of trials when you’re in the midst of them, there is so much value in seeing the silver lining. Never forget that some of the biggest growth comes through challenges.
No matter how tight your budget is, I believe you should always make room for giving. Set aside a certain amount every month to donate to a nonprofit and/or to give to people around you (grocery money for your friend who just lost their job, gas money for your cousin that is a college student, or buy coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop).
How do you live a life of gratitude? I’d love to hear!