I’ve been trying to be more purposed about living a life of “intentional gratitude.” Essentially, it’s being thankful instead of being a grouch, giving thanks always.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness
in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything
in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Intentional gratitude means that we are literally thankful for the little disasters we experience in our daily lives. It’s REALLY difficult at first, but let me cite some examples to illustrate how it can work for you:
The hot water heater quits working: “Thank you Lord, for clean, running water in my home.”
The drive-through messes up your order and gives you the wrong food, but you don’t figure out until you’re home: “Thank you for giving me the financial resources to be able to purchase convenience food to feed my family.”
A scary health report: “Thank you Lord, for skilled professionals in our culture who you've blessed with talents to help us.”
Sitting in a long line of traffic causes you to be late: “Thank You for allowing me to have transportation (with air conditioning/heat) that allows me to get to appointments and for cell phone technology that allows me to notify them.”
Living a life of intentional “thank you” shuts down the enemy. He stirs up discontentment and strife, but we point to thank you. Intentional gratitude turns away temptation for us to go to the “ugly” side of ourselves, and corrects our course to put our eyes back on our Creator.
The coolest thing about intentional gratitude is that it takes place EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. You don’t need a special app on your phone, a certain color of ink, or a PhD. It’s all within you and your conscious choices. Personally, I’m struggling at getting better about being intentionally grateful. Just this morning, I opened my washing machine to find a load of clothes that never made it to the dryer. First response? Grumbling under my breath. Second response? “Thank you Lord, for the ease of modern washing machines that just require me to push a button.” (I’m “tenured” enough to remember my Granny’s washer that had a hand wringer instead of a spin cycle, and she was frugal with electricity so typically she hung all of the freshly-washed clothing on a clothes line either in her basement or outside with what seemed like a million clothespins. THANK YOU JESUS, for modern technology!)
I encourage you to try living a life of intentional gratitude. It changes your perspective. It even, I dare say, makes you more patient, and we can all use a little of that!