Life-Enhancing Gratitude Growth

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him… overflowing with thankfulness” (Col. 2:6-7, NIV).

What a wonderful Scripture for Thanksgiving Day! I sense Holy Spirit gently asking us this about it: If we are honest with ourselves, how close are we to living our lives by the standard this verse sets? How often do we experience a moment where our hearts are overflowing with thanks to God? Do we live our lives this way regularly?

I am pretty sure that we all have a ways to go until we get there. Even the most grateful among us still need to grow deeper and deeper into gratitude every year that we are alive. This is one of the great hallmarks of spiritual maturity in Jesus.

How do we get there, then? We start right where we are and focus on practicing. Someone shared with me recently about a custom the Jews have of going through a certain kind of meal and thanking God for every single flavor of every single dish. I found this fascinating and insightful. There’s something very powerful to it. What rich inspiration this provides, towards thoroughness in thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day is a perfect moment to reflect on new ways to form habits of thanksgiving. Here are a few ideas:

  • A gratitude journal
  • Preemptively planning on verbally expressing our gratitude to specific individuals in our lives in a way we haven’t before
  • Going out of our way to execute said plan, getting out of our comfort zone
  • Writing thank you notes not just for presents but for the gift of someone’s presence, friendship, and support
  • Making a goal to thank God for three things before getting out of bed each morning
  • Thanking Him for five blessings while we are stuck in traffic or a long line
  • Before falling asleep, giving Him thanks for seven ways He showed His goodness to us during the day

Of course, the numbers I picked in those last three points are just examples. You could pick two or ten or whatever Holy Spirit puts in your heart to do. But I do know this. Increasing our habits of purposeful thanksgiving will noticeably enhance the quality of our lives. It’s amazing how many studies have been done showing that intentional thanksgiving and gratitude increase health, longevity, and satisfaction with life.

Our enjoyment of being alive will increase to a degree that corresponds to how much heart we put into growing in this way. Does this feel out of reach? Be encouraged, my friend. Practice makes perfect. The more we practice giving thanks even when we don’t feel like it; even when it doesn’t come natural to us, the more the fruit of gratitude will develop inside of us over time.

The celebration of Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful opportunity to pause and gauge how we are doing with our gratitude growth. It provides us with a timely occasion to practice giving exuberant thanks, both in our quiet times and in our family time around the table. What if we make Thanksgiving a kind of New Year marker for a brand new year of growth in gratitude? Where do we want to be this time next year on our gratitude journey? Will we be intentional over the coming year to grow our roots deeper into thankfulness?

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Happy Thanksgiving, dear one! I’d love to hear about what Thanksgiving traditions are dear to your heart. Does your family practice taking turns around the table, expressing gratitude for blessings out loud? What other traditions are special to you on this day?

12 thoughts on “Life-Enhancing Gratitude Growth

  1. Happy Thanksgiving Jennifer! I am grateful for your inspiration in my spiritual life, and grateful for the miracle of the technology that allows you to share your ministry with us over the Internet, Podcasts, etc. May your Thanksgiving Day be blessed.

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  2. Thank you Jenn and Happy Thanksgiving! This is so good! I plan on being more thoughtful in taking a good look at my day and noting 7 ways He showed His goodness! I love all your ideas here; theyare inspiring. I reflect on Father God’s goodness but not to the extent I could. Starting a journal would be great❤️ And thinking upon His blessings while waiting in different situations is something I could do more of👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼. Loved, loved seeing and being with you and Israel and your 4 sweet children. Praying and hoping you all are blessed as can be❣️Love you, Ann

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    1. Your words make me smile joyfully, Ann! I sense the Father’s pleasure in your response to Him. He loves you so much! And I also so enjoyed seeing you all and fellowshipping together. What a precious gift! Sending you big hugs today with much love.

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  3. The more we ‘work and serve’ Christ, the more we won’t have to think about what to thank Him for, because the reasons will be so undeniable and apparent. One thing after another. We will see that prayer answered, and be in awe and in a constant state of thanks and gratitude. The more we actively work – the more we will find ourselves in THANKSGIVING! Amen.

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    1. Yes, allowing Him to use our lives for His glory, partnering with Him, making space for Him to touch others through our lives, brings about a sense of awe of who He is and His work. Thanksgiving becomes more and more built into our hearts as we grow intentionally in surrender to Him 🙂 Thank you, Ben. I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving!

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