“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3
In the above verses God says one reason He blessed Abram is so that Abram and his kin will bless the rest of the world. I believe that reason extends to us as well. Believers are to bless others because God has blessed us.
So, today I am thankful that because God has blessed me, I can, have a responsibility to and will bless people throughout the world.
People in my church model this.
- This morning in church we saw that our Big Kids Club (BKC) before and after school daycare blesses families in our neighborhood. The kiddos in the BKC are given safe, fun, loving, and educational care. All of this at affordable prices.
- And we saw that Mark and the other 5 people on his team , Water for People, blessed families in Malawi by bringing their water, sanitation and hygiene expertise to them. The team’s report will craft a specialized program and find funding to meet their needs.
Dear Lord, Help me to be on the look out for how You want me to bless those around me. Help me to recognize the blessings that you’ve given to me. Let my heart be FULL of gratitude for them. Let this gratitude spill out of the feelings of my heart and into the actions of my hands, feet and mind. Thank you, Lord, for Your Presence and empowering Spirit that enables me to do Your work and will. Amen.
Nope. No thing made it on my list today. Instead it’s all about relationships.
People are the most important items on my list today. Really they should be the most important items everyday.
In fact, that point is the theme for a movie I saw last night: 12 Days of Christmas Eve starring Steven Weber and Molly Shannon.
Calvin Carter is a self-indulged, wealthy CEO (of a discount chain store) who puts self and making money before family, friends, employees and really his own best interests. Then Fate intervenes. An accident triggers a “Groundhog Days” scenario.
Carter has the opportunity to make Christmas Eve perfect. In fact, he gets 12 chances to get it right or else the accident turns fatal. His clueless actions cause frustration and pain for those around him and are sadly typical of many who don’t value the relationships in their lives. But Carter does seem to be growing in his appreciation of what “perfect” means.
This movie, with its humorous treatment of a serious theme, is one I’ll watch again.
Watch the movie to see if Carter finally chooses to live a perfect Christmas Eve. It’s a PG rating so I’m sure you can guess the ending. We will be showing it on the big screen at Christmas C.A.M.P. on Saturday, December 6.
To my peeps, I’m lending out my copy if you can’t attend C.A.M.P. Just send me an email or reply here.
So, here’s a bunch of gratitude for the relationships in my life. Knowing and interacting with them has made me a better person. I hope I’ve done the same for them. What relationships are you grateful for?
- The Trinity
- People Like Family
- Work Mates
- Ministry Mates
- School Mates
- Profs at Seminary
- All Teachers I’ve Had
- Small Group Leaders
- Current Friends
- Friendships I’ve had in the Past
- Best Friends
- Prayer Partners
- Service Industry People (from mailmen to waitstaff)
- Doctors & Their Staff
- People at Church
- Church Leadership
- Men & Women in the Armed Forces (past & present)
Here are 22 categories, but there are certainly more I could list. What “category” have I left off?
Gratitude is more than listing what I’m grateful for. Sometimes actions are necessary.
Here are some actions you can take that say “Thank you.”
- Write and send thank you notes
- Create an expression of your gratitude (a sculpture, a card, a song, a garden, a poem, a place mat)
- Donate to a charity/church in the name of someone you are grateful towards
- Express your appreciation for an employee and send it to their boss
- Look at sonogram and/or baby pictures of someone you love. (It could even be you.) Ponder the miracle of birth.
- Drop off food at a food bank
- Drop comparisons in the garbage can. Comparisons only feed envy and pride, sure killers of the thankful heart. Draw an actual picture of this. List the comparisons inside the can. When done, throw the list into the actual garbage can.
- Make a meal or part of a meal and deliver it to a shut-in or ill person or to someone just because
- Pull a name out of your address book; jot down 7 Things I Like About You and mail it to them today.
- Forgive someone because you’ve been forgiven much. Also because anger, resentment and bitterness block the flow of gratitude.
- Practice contentment. When a brain is filled with the “gimmees,” it is difficult to be appreciative of what you have now.
- Volunteer – “There but for the grace of God go I.”
- Do a Random Act of Kindness (RAK)
- Give away something that you don’t need but know someone else could really use
- Take flowers to the grave of a dear one. Thank God for their influence and ask Him to help you pass on the lessons you learned from them. Or give the flowers to someone living, but still do the preceding prayer.)
- Memorize a poem or song about gratitude or one that reminds you to be thankful. Recite/sing it daily for a week.
- Write a thank you note to yourself. List your many wonderful qualities. Why don’t you put it inside a beautiful card and mail it to yourself?
- Donate a magazine subscription to a young mom, an office you visit, or a child
- Lavish some special care on your pet(s). Every pet I’ve had has been a wonderful example of giving gratitude on a regular basis. (Well, except for the fish.)
- Don’t ask God for anything for a day. Instead spend the time thanking Him and praising Him.
I’m going to do #1: Pray. I’ll take 21 minutes and thank God for the people in my life, asking that He would bless them with spiritual growth, protection, and guidance and that He’d meet their every need.
How many on this list have you done? I’ve done 10 of them. I guess I have some actions to do this month. 🙂
What would you add to this list? How are you going to practice gratitude today? Share what happened when you did it.
Related Post . . . 40 More Ways to Cultivate Gratitude
Tonight while browsing the grief section at B&N, I met Andrea and Rob. They are a couple in their mid-life years. Last week they were a couple hustling and bustling with life.
Today they are bowled-over, knocked down and and torn apart with grief. Their 21 year old son died.
You just never know which day will be the last one with someone or a pet. Which day will be the last day in that job, home, or healthy body. So, for today, Live life well, loving on those important people in your life.
Listen to this song by Point of Grace: How You Live, Turn Up the Music. Here are some things I’m thankful for that the song points out or prompted me to think/do . . . .
- Waking up this morning with a gentle breeze ruffling my red curtains and the sound of cars mingling with a barking dog (it was a pleasant sound)
- Someone has been kind to me so I wrote a thank you note
- My dishes remind me of my momma because she and I only had 30 minutes to buy all I wanted from a Portmerion factory shop in England. These are my good dishes and I’ve used them every day for many, many years now.
- Wearing a beautiful sweater given to me by Lenny. I received several compliments on it today.
- Making wishes– I love thinking about the possibilities of what could be. I make wishes when I am in a car and go into a tunnel. I put my hand on the ceiling of the car and make wishes the whole time we are in the tunnel. I’ve done this every time since my 20’s.
- Have what I want – friends and family who affirm me, a peaceful home, clean rooms, a masters degree (June 2009), healthy body, sound mind, growing relationship with God and people, a vibrant church – to name a few things.
- I want what I have– I have been making this thought a priority lately. It is definitely helping me be more grateful and content.
- A peaceful mind – Don’t let regrets rule my mind – I am learning that it is futile to live life peering into the rear view mirror. As the song says, “Don’t spend your life looking back.”
- Music -it definitely affects my mood. No faithless, back-stabbing country music lyrics for me. Turn up this song from Point of Grace LOUD. It will do your heart some good. What are some of your do your heart some good songs?
- Taking chances – I am your basic vanilla chance-taker but I am risking some. I went to Jordan last year with a team to teach English. I am getting my masters degree. I am grateful for those two things. That’s about all I can think of, but my dd is a great chance taker. Last summer she spent 49 days traveling the Pacific Northwest without an itinerary or much money. Go here to read about her journey.
- Ballgames, ballet and holiday visits – Did that when the kiddos were younger. I do want to make those types of outings a priority again. Once I’m done with school I’ll have that time. If I don’t, please knock me upside the head! BUT, I will check and see if Emmy has any more soccer games left. If yes, I”l go.
- Kissing and hugging my children – every chance I get when I see them and when they leave
- Dancing with Chip – he’s not too fond of this activity, but it makes me smile. Someday I’ll have (grand)babies to dance with again. Do you remember letting them step on your toes and the two of you would twirl around?
- Facing the truth – being a truth teller and hearer and knowing that truth really does set me free
- Giving to the needy – “Everyone can help one child” I wrote at this post. Doing this reminds me that for the grace of God go I. And if it was my child who was hungry and in need of shelter, education, clothes, safety, I would hope that someone would help him/her. I am grateful that I can help someone today.
- Praying for the grieving – We have several women at church who’ve lost husbands. I pray for them and their families. I’ll be praying for Andrea and Rob. Will you join me? I am thankful that my grief journey is not at an intense point today. I am thankful for those who have loved on me, been patient with me and prayed for me.
- Peace with God – I’m not always in this spot. I am grateful that today and right now I am.
- Peace with myself – Again this isn’t always true, but it is today, right now.
- It’s not about me – Enough said on that one.
- It’s about how I lived – Especially in taking care of my relationships
“The most handicapped person in the world is a negative thinker.” By Heather Whitestone, former Miss America. (She’s deaf.)
Busy, busy with end of term papers. But I am not too busy to thank God for the following . . .
- 2 healthy ears
- 2 eyes that are functionable with glasses
- Limbs that are healthy, painfree and get me where I need/want to go
- Hands that type, craft, cook/bake and love with only a touch of arthritis
- A fairly healthily body
- Active brain
- Emotions that allow me to love and live life
- Ability to process the bad and good in life
- Someday I’ll have that perfect body (in Glory)
- I’ll have that perfect body forever
- Starting to live more and more in the long view of life where most stuff is small stuff so don’t sweat it
- I finished the coursework for another class this semester. 2 down.
- Final papers for only 3 more classes for this semester.
- The torn apart feeling of grief does not last forever
- While I may not be completely pain-free from some losses, I can have peace with that loss
- Another great book on grief: Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Ideas.Compassionate advice and simple activities to help you through your loss. This is written by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
- Janet from Western Seminary – she works in the office and is soooo supportive
- Kim from CNC. She works in our church office sometimes. She is also supportive.
Busy day and busy night with work and meetings. Here is my gratitude list in 18 words.
I am grateful for leading the women’s study, productive day, fun staff lunch, & encouraging women’s team meeting.