Practicing Gratitude

God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3 KJV).

Gratitude is the most effective way to deepen your consciousness to the fact that you are the object of God’s affection and love. Giving thanks awakens your senses to see God, to hear God, to taste and see that He is good. When you feel far from God, praise will bring you back. When you have strayed from acknowledging God’s presence, when you have forgotten in him we live and move and have our being, praise and gratitude will be the ramp to get you back on the right road.

I shudder at the words of Romans chapter one. “They neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened,” (Romans 1:21). They did not glorify Him. They did not give thanks to Him. “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…” (Romans 1:24). The light of their eyes went dark.

Praise keeps you alert to the glimpses of glory all around. The more you glorify God with praise and thanksgiving, the more your eyes will be opened to the deep well of His love that is but a bowshot away (Genesis 21:19). God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3 KJV). He feels right at home in a heart that praises Him. He enjoys being there!

I believe gratitude grows with practice. When you thank God, regardless of your feelings, it primes the pump of your heart until gratitude begins to flow freely.

If this is a language you have not spoken often, you can become fluent…with practice. Paul wrote, “I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything” (Philippians 4:11-12 NLT, emphasis mine). “I have learned.”

As with any foreign language we attempt to learn, the more we use it, the more fluent we become. Is it too strong to say that the language of gratitude is a “foreign” tongue? I don’t think so. We come into the world screaming with our very first breath, “It’s all about me and my needs!” With tightly closed fists and squeezed shut eyes we demand attention. A newborn babe can think of nothing more than his wants and his needs: feed me, hold me, change me, nurse me…and do it right now! I would like to think we eventually grow out of that infantile attitude, but I’m sorry to say, many never do.

But we don’t have to live like self-centered, self-absorbed ingrates. We can learn God’s love language of gratitude that opens our eyes and unfurls the fingers. We can speak words of gratitude that remove the blinders to see glimpses of His glory every day. As we discover and practice the beautiful language of gratitude, our native tongue of self-focused dissatisfaction begins to fade.

And we practice. And we practice. And we practice.

I often ask my Spanish-speaking friends who are also fluent in English, “When you dream, do you dream in Spanish or in English?”

Most of the time they say Spanish. A few say both. But only the ones totally immersed in English, who have lived in the States for a long period of time, actually dream in their learned language rather than their native tongue.

Oh how I long for the tongue of gratitude to become the language of my dreams. My heart language. But that will not happen by putting my Bible under my pillow. It is a result of practice as I live and move and have my being in Him with a grateful heart.

Let’s Pray

Lord, my desire is to be a grateful person in 2013. Please convict me when I am ungrateful. Help me to stop the grumbling and start the words of gratitude. Help me make gratitude my native tongue. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What do You Think? 

I’m grateful that you have taken the time to read these three blogs on gratitude. I’m grateful that you’ve allowed me to speak into your life.

Go back and review the verse at the top of the blog. Where does God live? Where does He feel at home?

Do you want to sense God’s presence in your life and experience moments of sudden glory? Gratitude could very well be the ticket to get you there.

Now, let’s practice some gratitude. Find three people today and tell them why you appreciate them or why you are thankful for them. It could be as simple as telling someone “thank you” for a small or large way they have helped you or encouraged you.

Want More? 

Seeing God through the lens of gratitude and grace is one of the themes of my book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More. It’s a great book to help you experience God’s presence on a daily basis. But if you have trouble with grumbling, complaining, and controlling your tongue, I’d suggest delving into my book, The Power of a Woman’s Words. What a great New Year’s Resolution: CONTOL MY TONGUE!  You can find them both on my website at www.sharonjaynes.com

 

 

5 Responses to Practicing Gratitude

  1. Nicole Sequera January 28, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful posts with me everyday! Your words continue to inspire me and teach me so much….really means a lot…..thank you!

  2. jennifer cain January 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Sharon, thank you so much for your emails. My husband and I are youth leaders at our church in Big Sandy, Tx , and last wednesday i used your emails to teach the class. I passed out rubber bands and all the kids wore them. as the night progressed, wrist pops were heard. My 3 children (12 , 14, and 16) have been wearing them since. they have taken it a step farther though, and pop their wrists when they grumble and complain in their thoughts. Instead of voicing their unhappiness at the task we have asked them to do, they do it, and pop their wrists as they think about why they don’t want to do this. Thank you for that!

  3. Linda Cumbie January 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Sharon that rubber band on the wrist challenge was great. I wore one on my wrist last week and got popped several times during the day. Now is has caught on with my co-worker now they are wearing rubber bands.

    Thanks! It has helped be more mindful of what comes out of our mouth.

    • Sharon January 31, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      That is awesome!

  4. Rhonda January 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Right now, I’ve tried really hard to be grateful for the things that I have in my life, but no matter how I look at it, the only thing I can come up with is that I’ve been left alone. I have an autistic son with Aspergers that speaks his mind whether it’s logical or not, and a husband that will never understand his disability and argues with him and cuts him down while he attempts to correct him on all his mistakes. I keep praying that God will open my husband’s eyes and give him the patience he needs to lift his stepson up, but it seems like the situation just keeps getting worse. This is not an exaggeration. They can’t be in the same room for more than five minutes before they’re arguing with each other. It’s like I have twelve year old twins picking at each other all the time. My husband is the instigator, and my son blindingly steps into his traps and then has to be punished for back talking to him. It also doesn’t help when we have another son together, and my husband is more gentle and patient with him than he’s with my oldest son who has Aspergers. I’ve been praying to God for a long time to help me with this situation, but it just seems to be getting worse, and talking with my husband is like someone pointing out all the things they felt I did wrong as a parent. Now, I know I’m a good mother, because I go to great lengths to be one. However, the stress of this constant battle is physically killing me; I’m even losing my hair. I’m so tired of God not taking us out of this situation or improving it. I feel trapped and I”m withering away here, so how can I feel gratitude for a situation that has brought me down so low? My husband is a Christian, but he doesn’t do Bible study; he just prays (so he says). He complains that he has problems reading words correctly, and when I tell him practice makes perfect, he just complains even more. I’m so very frustrated…

Leave a Reply