The April 1st “I AM GRATEFUL” movement is quickly approaching and I’m excited that you are considering joining me as we move into a higher realm of gratitude. I don’t expect that our group will be very large this time around. Sadly, the largest percentage of society will never step up into all that God has for them due in part to their unwillingness to live a life of thanksgiving to Him and to others. But for those of us who will take this 30-day challenge, I truly believe we’ll walk into some of God’s best blessings; ones specially reserved for the grateful hearts. Just you wait and see!
As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, being thankful for someone’s kindness is only good if you let the individual know this. As Gladys B. Stern once declared, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone!” No one can read our mind, therefore our good thoughts are fruitless for another person if we do not voice them.
There are many benefits that come from our shared expressions of gratitude. Let’s look at eight of them.
1. When we acknowledge someone’s contribution to the success and happiness of our lives, we are able to walk in a posture of humble gratitude. We are able to recognize that God has brought these people and blessings to us and we would fare well to stop and remember where we came from. You are where you are in your level of success, comfort, knowledge, and abilities because of someone else’s contribution to you! And, “no one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” ~Alfred North Whitehead.
2. When today’s mailbox usually holds only the mundane daily deliveries, the sight of the personally addressed envelope is a rare treat for the eyes. And once read, your message of gratitude becomes a rare treat for the soul.
Sadly, showing true gratitude in written form has become an unlikely gift to give. But let me ask you: If you could afford to send a beautiful bouquet of flowers to all those you care about, with the simple motive of randomly brightening their day, would you? I think most of us would. But most would have to admit that funds are limited and therefore not an option of daily practice. But, if you knew that your thoughtful note of appreciation would be an even greater and more lasting gift than the fragrant flowers ever could, would you be more inclined to spend ten minutes expressing your thoughts in a card? I think we all would if we knew in advance that their reaction upon receiving it would be a positive one.
3. Taking the time to properly express our appreciation allows us the opportunity to extend a cloak of grace to a fellow traveler. We will never fully know all that is going on in someone’s life at any one point. Most of the time, we will rarely get a glimpse into the heart of the individual who may be on the brink of giving up. The one who has served others for many years may be at a point of questioning if his efforts may have been all for naught. Sound dramatic? Have you ever felt this way? You will have no idea what your words can do to lift a head in despair! You can make someone’s day when the recipient of your card realizes that you thought enough of them to hand write a personal message of gratitude. It just speaks volumes!
NEVER underestimate the power of your pen!
4. Genuine notes of thanks can connect or reconnect us at a deeper level.
When we make this kind of personal contact with an individual, it lets them know that they are remembered and that their contribution in our life is important. The results are almost magical! Questions, doubts, or resentments seem to dissipate. Hearts soften. Bridges are built with those we do not yet know well, while fences are mended with those whose relationships have become forgotten, strained, or disconnected. All this with a simple act of gratitude! I tell you…it’s magical! But more often, it’s God. Give Him something to work with like this simple gesture of appreciation and He’ll bring grace, depth, and healing to your relationships!
5. Our heartfelt notes of appreciation become a tangible expression of honor to someone who has done well for us.
An employer or supervisor would do well to heed this particular benefit. When employees and volunteers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to stick with you and more likely to serve joyfully.
But it’s not just employers who should heed this one. Parents, spouses, and anyone else who leads by serving others would do well to remember to honor those who follow, in gratuitous ways.
6. Sending a note of appreciation can be timely in a providential sort of way. Our note can warm the heart, bring a smile, and possibly heal a soul. If you desire to bless others in divinely timed ways, consider the verse I have clung to for many years: “…the Lord awakens me early in the morning to bring a word in season to him who is weary.” Isaiah 50:4. Our encouraging word may be the very word, at a crucial time, that someone needs.
7. A grateful heart becomes a more content heart. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, and a stranger into a friend.” ~Melody Beattie.
The Apostle Paul acknowledged his contentment when he said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” Philippians 4:11-12. Paul knew contentment because he knew gratitude.
A grateful person can see with wondering eyes all that they have been given. And in that gratitude, they can have a heart overflowing with thanksgiving for the many things God and others have done for them.
“Of all the characteristics needed for both a happy and morally decent life, none surpasses gratitude. Grateful people are happier.” ~Dennis Prager.
8. A grateful heart is positioned to receive more blessings. In the book I mentioned in that last post, the voice told John that until he could learn to be grateful for the things he had been given in life, he would not attain the things for which he was striving. This is simply a universal and spiritual law at work. The fact is, people want to do things for people who show appreciation! Even God wants to bless those whose hearts are filled with thanksgiving. “Give thanks to the Lord and do not forget His benefits!” Psalm 103:2.
It brings God and others joy and spurs them on to extend even more kindnesses when they know how much we will appreciate their efforts!
If you’ve vacillated with the idea of joining us on April 1, I hope this list of benefits has encouraged you to take even a small part in the “I AM GRATEFUL” movement. You’ll lose nothing in your efforts and you stand to gain a world of joy and grace in your relationships with others.
The good news is that we will find that the practice of expressing gratitude will become second nature to us as we faithfully make it a priority over those thirty days. If it’s true that it takes 21 days to develop a habit, then it is encouraging to know that when April is over, we are already well on our way to being more expressively grateful to others!
In a few days, we’ll go over some easy and fun ways to carry out this grand adventure together! So be sure to return soon! And don’t forget, if you’d like to read the book: A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life that I mentioned now or during our campaign, go for it! Though very inspiring, it’s not a required book for your success in this movement. However, it may be a good idea to grab some paper and get a jump-start by making a list of a few names of people to bless during this campaign.
Until next time, BE grateful!