After the coffee brews rich, black, and bitter, the final drops patter into the pot one at a time like rain filling a bucket or thoughts collecting in the secret place. Our days have been full here lately, and I’m desperate for some space to let my soul breathe. I utter a quiet prayer for insight on how to be more thankful to God and close my eyes as thunder echoes in the distance.
We all face seasons when life feels overwhelming.
We want to be women who give thanks in all circumstances, but it’s not so easy when life doesn’t work out according to our plans.
It’s easy to get caught up in all that’s wrong in our lives and forget to look for what’s right.
How to Be More Thankful to God
Gratitude is a game-changer.
I was a teenager when Oprah encouraged every woman in the world to start writing in a gratitude journal. My journal helped me cultivate gratitude for a while, but I eventually quit the habit.
I tried again when Ann Voskamp wrote about counting God’s gifts, but the habit eventually dwindled again.
Maybe you can relate. Like me, you’re not sure where your long-lost gratitude journal ended up, and you feel like you’ve failed Oprah, Ann, and God himself.
Maybe you’re not sure where your long-lost gratitude journal ended up, and you feel like you’ve failed Oprah, Ann Voskamp, and God himself.
There is hope for us, friend.
I’ve been counting the gifts again, but I’m doing it in a different way, a way that works in this season of my life. Three times a day, I stop what I’m doing and thank God for a gift. My new habit is helping me shift my focus, glance toward Jesus, and be more attentive to his presence in the in-between moments. Here’s what it looks like for me:
1. Begin the day with gratitude.
I begin my days with a routine. I pour coffee and sit by the window in silence. Before I open my Bible or dig out my prayer guide, I thank God for one good gift. I thank him for the way a robin’s song tangles in the treetops at dawn, the two-year-old talking to himself upstairs in his crib, or beagles barking in the kennel outside.
Sometimes I name a handful of gifts. Other times, I linger on one good gift.
The secret is simple: Start the day by fixing your eyes on what is good, true, admirable, and lovely, and your eyes will chase the lovely all day long.
2. Establish a mid-day gratitude pause.
For a few years, I set an alarm on my watch. It beeped at noon every day, and I paused to pray. A group of friends liked the idea, so we bought matching pink watches, and we all started praying at noon. (Shout out to the Pink Watch Club!)
I’ve drifted from the habit of setting an alarm, but I’m learning to reestablish a mid-day pause. After I put the little one in his crib to nap, I settle down for my writing time, and I begin with gratitude. It’s a natural time to pause and reconnect with God.
You might write a note where you keep your lunch or set an alarm on your phone. Hang wind chimes. Put a sticker on the coffee pot. Do something to remind yourself to pause and pray. Make it a habit to stop what you’re doing, look around, and find a reason to thank God.
Connect with God for just a few minutes or even seconds. Tell him why you love him and ask him to help you find a reason to give thanks. The secret is to pause and refocus.
3. End your day with gratitude.
When the house is dark and quiet, don’t sleep until you say thanks. Thank God for one good gift from the day. I often ask God to show me a gift I overlooked hidden within my day. God almost always reveals a moment I took for granted: Snuggles on the couch, splashing in the creek, a warm summer rain shower, or a silent house at dawn.
Relish the moment God reveals to you. Soak in it and let it simmer. Remember the cold glass of lemonade at the end of a long day, the warmth of the water as you took a slow shower, or the way the snowflakes fell like promises as the light faded.
Most of us crave more laughter, less stress, and deeper peace. Gratitude is a powerful gateway. Learn to stop what you’re doing and thank God three times a day, and those few minutes will transform your life.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Stacey Pardoe