Learning to be Greatful
Before I get into the heart of this post, I want to say that yes, I did spell greatful that way on purpose. To me, a grate is a grid or part of a cheese grater, not a condition of the heart. Our hearts can be great in love and gratitude; they can inspire us to greatness. I am greatful for the great things God has done for me. Thus, I spell
grateful greatful this way.
Be greatful each day
Being greatful is not as easy as it sounds, is it? It is an art, I think. It is an art that is worth learning and practicing.
Being greatful entails looking at and showing gratitude for the good in our lives.
This is easy! It is easy to be greatful for the home we live in or for the accident averted when we saw our child do something he shouldn’t and we were too far away to get to him in time.
It is easy to say, “Thank you God for all of my blessings.” We mean it, but do we make sure to feel that gratitude in our hearts and not just say thank you with our lips?
I heard a question one time that has really stuck with me. It is this: What if today you only had what you thanked God for yesterday? What would you have?
This reminds me to be greatful for things I tend to overlook. I am greatful for my family, but also for our home, electricity, the food we have to eat, the ability to hear and talk, to walk and think and pray. I am greatful for our faith and the ability to practice it in our country. I am greatful for the health and well-being of our children.
I am greatful that I have a bed to sleep in that is warm and comfortable. I have shoes to wear. I can see. I can hug my children and care for them.
The list is endless.
Being greatful can also mean looking at the not so good and being greatful for that, too.
Last year I was in the hospital for a few days. It was difficult being away from my family and focusing on healing, but I was greatful that I did not die. I was greatful that I was able to get better, that this was a temporary situation. I was greatful that our parish priest came to visit me. I was greatful to receive the Sacraments of Holy Communion and the Anointing of the Sick.
I am greatful for the suffering I endured because I could offer it up for a man I knew who was also in the hospital at the same time as me. He suffered more than I did. He never got to go home to his earthly family.
Being greatful helps us to be in tune with the needs and suffering of others.
When I think of being greatful for my faith, I think of those who do not know Jesus or those who do not believe in Him. I pray for them. When I am greatful for the food I have to eat and the bed I have to sleep in I think of and pray for those who do not have enough to eat or a place to sleep. When I am frustrated by a cold I am greatful that it is not worse and I pray for those who have a terminal illness who will not get better.
This helps me put things in a more proper perspective and reminds me to pray for the needs of others.
Besides praying for others, maybe there is something tangible I can do to help alleviate a suffering or meet a need for someone else.
Being greatful leads us to contentment and acceptance.
When I am greatful I am looking at the brighter side of things. I am looking at the reality of my life and letting God know that I appreciate the gifts He gives me. Being greatful leads me to be more content with my life and appreciate all that I have.
In being greatful, I accept my life as it is.Being greatful helps us see how God is working in our lives.
I realize that God knows what is best for me. He knows the joys and the struggles that will draw me to Him and mold my heart to His. Each situation in my life, good and bad, is an opportunity for me to learn and grow in faith and trust in Him. I have faith that God knows what is best for me. I trust in Him to provide for me all that I need, which is not the same as all that I want.
Being greatful takes practice.
One day at a time we can create a habit of saying thank you to God. Each day we can say thank you for at least one thing.
We can ask God to direct our thoughts to Him during our day and ask Him to remind us to be greatful and to articulate that gratitude to Him.
In the morning when I wake up I can start my day by saying, “Thank you, Lord, for letting me get up this morning.” As I brush my hair with my fingers because I forgot my brush, I can thank God for giving me straight hair. As I do the third load of laundry today I can thank God that my family and I have clothes to wear, that we have a home, and that I do not have to wash the laundry by hand.
My thank you can be a big as “Thank you, Lord, for my life.” My thank you can be a small as “Thank you, Lord, for letting me see a beautiful butterfly today.”
Each day we can practice developing a heart of gratitude.
Being greatful is an art.
Practice being greatful by looking at the good and the ordinary. We can be greatful for how our trials help us to draw closer to God and make us aware of the sufferings and needs of others. Being truly greatful in our hearts leads us to the contentment of mind and heart. It also leads to acceptance of what is going on in our lives. In being greatful we can better understand how God works everything for our good and that He is always with us. He wants only the best for us.
Just as God is infinite, His love for us is infinite. As His love for us knows no bounds, our love for Him and gratitude to Him should know no bounds.
What are some things that you are greatful for?