Intentional Gratitude

I was reflecting the other day on how many people tell me what they are grateful for. It only makes sense because my whole ministry is based on practicing gratitude. As I reflected on how many people when asked to list what they are grateful for gave me the same answers. My family, God, my home, my job, my friends,….. This is what I call the “superficial list of gratitude”. I’m not putting these answers or people down by any means because we all should be grateful for these things. I just say let’s dive much deeper.

I taught a class yesterday on intentional gratitude. I personally made a list of 11 things that required more thought to be grateful for. I then took 11 oranges and wrote in Sharpie one of the things I listed, so 11 oranges with 1 item on each. As I handled them out I chuckled and said, “Orange you grateful?”

I then asked each person one at a time to read out loud what the Sharpie said. I then explained why we should be intentionally grateful for these obvious things we never list on our gratitude list when asked.

The first person spoke, ” A full moon.” They looked at me in a confused way. Yes, a full moon I am intentionally grateful for because of 2 very special reasons. When there is a full moon in the sky it emits such a bright light in the dark night. It reminds me of God’s bright light keeping us out of the dark, He is light so I find a full moon reminds me of Him and I am calmed.

Also, any moon I am able to visually see connects me with so many people. I think of all the people in the world that may look up to the moon, the moon I look at. That also takes me to people in history that look at the same moon I look at. Jesus, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstien, Rosa Parks, Walt Disney. I wondered what they wondered when they looked at the moon.

Psalm 89:37 it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.”

This verse seems to refer to the constant of the universe just as God is with His convents and faithfulness.

Another orange was read aloud and it revealed the changing of seasons. I personally love autumn when all things are turning bright orange and golden, especially the leaves. Piles of leaves will rustle when the wind winds blow ( by the way the word for that is psithurism). How amazing is a crisp autumn day at a farmer’s market? Ah, heaven!

I also loved when someone in the class said that it can also represent when God takes us through seasons in our lives. So true. God never promised an easy life but He did promise to be by our sides always. He explains there will be balance in our lives, sadness balanced with joy, illness balanced with healthy times, and so on

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

The next orange to be read was marked with the word “music”. I have to personally admit that music has carried me through many moments in my life. There are so many benefits of listening to music. I recall memories when I hear certain songs, especially during my high school days. Music can release dopamine in my brain making me happy and relaxed. Most of all, music allows me to worship God when I am singing in my car beautiful worship songs. This draws me closer to God. I don’t really think I need to explain this verse.

Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with song. And magnify Him with thanksgiving.

The final orange I am going to list here is being grateful for a quiet place to sit. A place without phones, people, or distractions. I sit on my patio when I need to just be alone and think. There is a big tree that’s branches spread wide and to the edges of our fence. It reminds me of being sheltered and protected. We have many birds that chip when I sit out there. There is just something about chipping (the birds sing, hence the music listed above) that relaxes me. I am able to look up and focus on the changing clouds and attempt to figure out what the shapes look like. Jesus had to have a quiet place to sit.

Mark 1:35-39 It was very early in the morning and still dark. Jesus got up and left the house. He went to a place where he could be alone. There he prayed.

As I close this blog post, I pray that maybe you will get an orange and a Sharpie and start listing the things you are grateful for. I pray you will list things that take intentional gratitude to appreciate and can be tied back to God. Focus on the beautiful gifts God has given us in nature, family, and friends. May you feel God’s love and blessings today-LoLo

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