Practicing an Attitude of Gratitude

Is the glass half empty or half full?  That rhetorical question is commonly asked to determine if you are an optimist or a pessimist.  If you responded that the glass is half empty, some would say you are a pessimist.  If you answered that the glass is half full, common opinion would indicate that you are an optimist.

Half empty or half full?

Half empty or half full?

In either case, I bring this question up in light of the Thanksgiving holiday when Americans proclaim what they are thankful for—generally around a family feast.

You don’t need to reserve your gratitude for an annual date on the calendar.  For those of us who live our lives around the 12-Steps and Recovery Principles, gratitude is a way of life.  However, it is not something we generally felt when we entered recovery.

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

Most people start recovery far from being grateful for the situation they find themselves in.  They may walk through the door of their first meeting because they are desperate for answers to the circumstances they are experiencing in their lives.  Or maybe they are at a bottom, like I was.  Whatever the reason, gratefulness probably isn’t on the list of character traits that friends would say they have–or at least not near the top.

I was a pessimist for most of my adult life—until I entered into the recovery process.  Now at times it is hard to keep me quiet about my gratitude for recovery (specifically Celebrate Recovery), and what the Lord has done in me and through me.

Gratitude heartYou don’t have to be in a recovery program to develop an attitude of gratitude.  The change doesn’t happen overnight.  It is a process that builds inside of us, as we consciously choose to change our thinking.  (The lesson on gratitude is taught as part of Step 11—We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.)

Start small.  Take baby steps.  God will slowly give you glimpses into people, events, and things He has placed in your life that you can be grateful for.

The Benefits of Gratitude

Here are just some of the benefits of developing an attitude of gratitude (based on an acrostic for the word gratitude):

G-ets us out of our heads
R-eminds us of His gifts to us
A-djusts our attitude in a positive direction
T-ransforming power
I-ntegrates God’s love in our hearts
T-hankful despite our circumstances
U-tilizes our gifts for His Kingdom
D-raws others to us
E-ternal perspective
 

So it doesn’t matter if you identify yourself as a pessimist or an optimist, you can become a genuinely grateful person when you start to practice an attitude of gratitude.

I am grateful forPracticing What I Preach

In light of that, I’d like to say that I am thankful for the followers and readers of my blog, and for each purchase of my book.  I am grateful to be able to share my writing and trust that God is using it to inspire others.

I am grateful for this season of my life—the highs and the lows.  I am grateful for my family and my circle of friends who encourage and support me.  They lift me up at times when I can’t.  I am very grateful for my Spanish family and their generous hospitality to me.  I am forever grateful to my heavenly Father, who got my attention eleven years ago, brought me to my knees, redeemed my pain, and blessed me in ways I never dreamed possible.

I hope and pray this Thanksgiving will be the first day of an ongoing commitment to develop an attitude of gratitude in your life.  You can start now by posting what you are grateful for in the comments below.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving

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2 Comments

  1. What a beautiful post! Ardis, the growth and transformation you have experienced is what I am thankful for. I love seeing you experience the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m thankful for being able to recognize the power of the Holy Spirit! I am thankful for Jesus and the purpose He served. I am thankful for my family. I am blessed with so many. My friends that are so dear to me. My church, contentment and zest for living out His will!! Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

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    • Thanks Susan! You are one of my biggest encouragers, commenting on my blog, etc. I am so thankful for that. Our Spanish connection! Our love for the Lord. His work in our lives. You are a beautiful model of living a life of obedience. So grateful we reconnected in such a memorable God orchestrated way. Blessings to you and your family this day and always.

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  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

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