One of the best ways I’ve found to bring more light into my life is by expressing gratitude- to those around me and to my Heavenly Father. The more I practice at it, the more it becomes a part of me. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been asking myself each day, “How have I seen the hand of God in my life today?” Sometimes it’s in the middle of the day, sometimes it’s right before I fall asleep, but I’ve been amazed that the more I’ve done it, the more it’s started to stand out to me, without having to even ask. I have known right when something happens that God is in the details.
As I thought about November this morning, I immediately thought about gratitude. I thought about the Thanksgiving season, and our “thankful tree” we make with the kids where we list on little leaves every tiny thing we’re grateful for in our lives. But I felt like there was something more- more than just things. A friend of mine gave a beautiful talk in church on Sunday- all about gratitude.
She referenced Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk, Grateful in Any Circumstance. In it he says:
“Perhaps focusing on what we are grateful for is the wrong approach. It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we can count. True, it is important to frequently “count our blessings”—and anyone who has tried this knows there are many—but I don’t believe the Lord expects us to be less thankful in times of trial than in times of abundance and ease. In fact, most of the scriptural references do not speak of gratitude for things but rather suggest an overall spirit or attitude of gratitude.
It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going our way. But what then of those times when what we wish for seems to be far out of reach?
Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be.”
Powerful, isn’t it?! When I remembered this, another thought came to mind, “Recognizing God’s hand in my life is an expression of gratitude.” Asking that daily question, “How have I seen the hand of God in my life today?” and recognizing it, is in fact being thankful in our circumstances.
So, I want to issue you a challenge, for the entire month- yes even past “Thanksgiving Day”. Here it is-
- Ask yourself every day, “How have I seen the hand of God in my life today?”
- Ponder and really listen for the answer.
- Write it down.
That’s it! It doesn’t have to be written in a fancy notebook or journal- type it in your phone, on a sticky note, anywhere! Just write it.
I know as we do this seemingly simple thing, we will feel that attitude of gratitude developing deep within us. If you are feeling like you have nothing to be grateful for, just watch for God’s hand in your life. I promise it’s there- because I’ve seen it in my own. If He’s there for me, He’s there for you.
“We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?”
–Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Happy November, friends!