#027: How to Cultivate a Heart of Gratitude All Year Around, Not Just on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is easy to do when the season calls for it.

If you look on Pinterest, you'll see lots of ideas for Thanksgiving.

There are gratitude trees or gratitude jars where you'll write down something you are thankful for every day in November, and then on Thanksgiving Day, you will read them out loud.

These are wonderful ways to help us practice thanksgiving - I am not knocking that - but what about the rest of the year?

Thanksgiving is not a seasonal event but a way of living. Here's what the Scripture says about thanksgiving:

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
— Psalm 118:24
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
— Psalm 9:1

These verses tell me that thanksgiving is a day to day, moment by moment of choice. It is not just for the month of November.

But I also recognize that life is not always rainbows and sunshine. There are desert seasons when gratitude feels impossible.

Maybe you are in one of those seasons right now where thanksgiving feels more like a choice of obedience to the Lord.

I want to encourage you that giving thanks can be possible, even in the dark valleys, if you're doing it through Him.

2 Steps to Cultivating a Heart of Gratitude All Year Round

Focus on Him

When you focus on His character and His promises, you will shift your focus from your circumstance to God Himself. When you fixate your eyes on Him, that's when your heart will be a heart of gratitude.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
— Isaiah 40:28-31

Using Isaiah 40:28-31 as an example, we see who God is and we see His promises. Holding on to these verses will give you the confidence and the strength to trust in Him. Because He is who He says He is and He will do for you what He has promised to do.

So find your own verses that pertain to your circumstance. Hold on to them; meditate on them.

Allow the truth to transform your mind, which will then transform your heart also.

PS - If you have a hard time finding those verses, ask the women in your community who trust in the Lord. Or, come talk to me. You can leave a comment here or send me a private message on FB and Instagram. I'm happy to help you :)

Pray + Praise

As you dwell in the Truth, go talk to God in prayers and praises.

Ask God to help you rejoice and give thanks.
Ask God to open your eyes to see the blessings He has given you.
Ask God to empty your heart of bitterness and discontentment.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, among all malice.
— Ephesians 4:31

We can try to be thankful with those gratitude jars, but it will never stick, it will never become a habit, a way of living, if our hearts are bitter.

E.M Bounds has a quote that perfectly captures this: "Gratitude and murmuring never abide in the same heart at the same time."

What we need is the transforming power of the Word of God so that our hearts will truly become grateful, no matter what our circumstances are.

Closing Thoughts

I encourage you to open your Bible and find God's Character + Promises; talk to Him in prayers and give them praises for all that He's blessed you with. Journal everything blessings and give thanks for them one by one. Do this regularly; not just once a year.

Thanksgiving is not just for the month of November, but it is a life-long way of living.

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Podcast music: Sunny Holidays & Summertime by Nicolai Heidlas