How to Have a Grateful Heart

For those of you who missed last week’s post, I encouraged you to join a gratitude challenge. With the time remaining in 2021, write down at least 10 things that you are thankful for each day. Then at the end of the year, I bet you will feel happier and more blessed.

(Ironically, I later learned that September 21, the day of that post, was World Gratitude Day!)

Today I want to offer a few suggestions on how to make gratitude a habit. These are things that have helped me. I hope you can glean some insight out of them…

1 – Start your day with a thankful heart

When you wake up in the morning, thank God for a new day. Thank Him for waking you up. I know not everyone is a morning person. But even if you are tired and weary, you can still muster up a “thank you” because God allowed you to see a new day on this earth. And hand your day over to Him. Tell the Lord that you are choosing gratitude today. And you are choosing Him.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8 NIV

2 – Don’t let the enemy steal your joy

We are faced with so many things throughout our day that cause us to complain. But I am convinced that in many cases, the enemy is trying to steal our joy. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) When the enemy tries to take your joy away, you can choose otherwise. Remind yourself that you will not fall for his tactics. Remind yourself that Jesus came to bring you a full life. Remind yourself that every day is a gift from God.

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24 ESV

3 – Look for the good

Too often in our culture we are trained to see the negative in every situation and in every person. But as Christians, we have a supernatural power that can help us break this cycle. Let’s be radically different from those around us. Let’s look around for the good in people and the good in the circumstances we face. Let’s look for God’s goodness all around us. You can listen to all the motivational videos you want, but the truth is that being grateful starts with a decision. You get to choose how you will face every moment of every day.

If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you! – Proverbs 11:27 NIV

4 – Find Your Strength in God

I am not naive and I do know that sometimes we will still face difficult moments. But in those moments we can choose to hold tightly to God. We can rely on His strength. We have nothing to fear when Almighty God is beside us. Reading your Bible and praying will strengthen your relationship with Him. Spending time with The Lord is vital. I have seen in my own life when I let these daily habits slide, I also feel much more negativity inside me.

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1 NIV

5 – End your day with a grateful heart

Evening is often the time I write down the things I am thankful for. This is because I like to look back at my day and see all the good things that occurred. Even if I felt I had a “bad” day, I can find blessings from the Lord. If you don’t want to write down the gifts in your life, another option is to think about things you are grateful for as you drift off to sleep. And this will help to end your day on a peaceful note.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8 NIV

These are things that have helped me to cultivate a thankful heart. Many of them boil down to our habits. We all will have an array of daily habits, no matter who we are. But we can choose to make them good ones and make them work in our favor. When you first start down this path, you might find yourself forgetting to make gratitude a habit. So you could post sticky notes or some other sort of reminders in different places as triggers. If you have any of your own tips on how to stay grateful, feel free to share in the comments.

And I also want to share some bonuses to help you find gratitude today…

1 – Poem by a fellow blogger

Last week Daryl Madden shared a moving poem when he reblogged my post. Please check it out here. I was so touched! This poem immediately went down on my gratitude list!

2 – A quote that will give you perspective

Last week I mentioned the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Today I want to reference a quote from a different book of hers, The Greatest Gift. If you are complaining or feeling sorry for yourself, perhaps these words will help flip a switch.

“If you have any food in your fridge, any clothes in your closet, any small roof, rented or owned, over your head, you are richer than 75 percent of the world… If you have anything saved in the bank, any bills in your wallet, any spare change in a jar, you are one of the top 8 percent wealthiest people in the world… If you can read these words right now, you have a gift three billion people right now don’t. If your stomach isn’t twisted in hunger pangs, you have a gift that one billion people right now don’t. If you know Christ as the greatest Gift, you have a gift that untold millions of people right now don’t…”

I am praying for each of you throughout this journey. I hope we can all find a more positive outlook and wrap up 2021 with a grateful heart.

Original photo by Artem Saranin on Pexels.com.

© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

18 Comments on “How to Have a Grateful Heart

  1. August 11, 2021 I started a gratitude journal, it’s been going well. I’ve made gratitude notes off and on for awhile, but in August I made it official and started a journal. It’s loaded with scripture and comments and drawings. I encourage everyone to give it a try. 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay! This makes me happy! I am so glad to hear you have a gratitude journal. And it sounds like you are getting a lot of joy out of it. That is awesome. I often include Scripture, comments, quotes, etc. as well. I love that you also include drawings. I must admit that I am not too artistic. But that is a fun idea that I might have to incorporate. Thank you for sharing. I love this! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am enjoying doing the gratitude challenge. I did skip a day but got back to it. It truly helps me focus on God and it is definitely a perspective shifter.
    Don’t let the enemy steal your joy- we focus on all that is or can go wrong and miss out on the blessings- that stood out to me.
    The poem is absolutely lovely.
    Blessings my friend 🤗💙

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so happy to hear that you are enjoying the gratitude challenge. That is okay that you missed a day. But I’m glad you got back to it. Our lives keep us busy and I know some days it is hard to find a few minutes just to sit and write. But as long as we are keeping gratitude in our minds throughout the day, it does make a difference. I agree – focusing on God’s goodness does help alter our outlook and that is something we all really need these days. And I like how you put that – we focus on all that is or “can go” wrong. That made me think about how much I have been worrying lately. So many times the things we worry about do not come to pass. And you are right, we miss the blessings around us when we are focused on the negative, whether real or imagined. Thank you for your insight. You always make me think a little deeper! Blessings to you too, dear friend ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” – Harvard Health Publishing. Religious adherents have known it for millennia, and the world is slowly catching on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing that quote. Sometimes it helps people think about it deeper when they see that research backs the message. But you are absolutely right. I love that science is finally catching up to things that the Bible has said all along. Such an excellent point. Thank you!

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  4. How neat that you started the challenge on World Gratitude Day and didn’t plan it that way! I’m loving this challenge so far. My days have been so much better when I wake up thanking God for giving me another day and end my day thanking Him for all the small things that He gave me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, so true about World Challenge Day. I mentioned it to a friend and she said “God knew!” I am so glad you are enjoying the challenge. I love that you are starting and ending your day with gratitude. It sets a beautiful tone for the time that falls in between. Thank you for sharing that, Michelle!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read an article yesterday on survival tips from the depression era. Boy oh boy do are we ever spoiled. And spoiled drives being thankful away. It was easier when we lived overseas without all the wonderful things we have in the US. Too much of stuff, easy to get stuff makes us take things for granted. Life was really more simple and profound all at the same time living overseas. Great post. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such a great point. I have never lived overseas, as you have. But I agree. We are very spoiled and feel entitled. We take things for granted, and as a result gratitude goes out the window. This makes me so sad to think about. We might not be able to change the world. But we can change our own attitudes and hopefully shine a light for those around us as well. Thank you so much, Betty, for sharing your insight ♥️

      Like

  6. I started a gratitude journal in 2017, just writing down one or two items each day so I didn’t overreach my capacity for keeping the habit going. i titled it “A Celebration of Small Things.” Now it’s great fun to look back and see what was happening on this date in previous years. Some entries have tracked our youngest granddaughter’s development from first smiles to first day of preschool. One advantage I hadn’t expected, the habit of reviewing the positive experiences of the day generates feel-good endorphins in and of itself. But I’m still glad to have kept a written record and will continue to do so!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the suggestions. Every morning when I get up I like to give thanks. Number 3 is so important too, looking for the good in people and situations will make life much better. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad these suggestions were helpful. And the two you mentioned, I think they are important too. But I know they are not always easy. Complaining in our culture seems to be normal and even encouraged. But we can choose to be different. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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