When I ask myself, “what rekindles my joy” two things immediately come to mind:
Recalling God’s faithfulness demonstrated in my life
Caring for others without expecting anything in return
Traditionally gratitude journals focus on counting blessings and listing out everything you are grateful for. While there is nothing wrong with this, I’m a “dig deeper” kinda girl so I would like to invite you to dig deeper into rekindling your joy by igniting your gratitude by focusing on your relationship with God and those around you.
Rekindle Your Joy with Gratitude
Gratitude is defined as the feeling of gratefulness and thanksgiving is the outward expression of that feeling. This outward expression includes our attitudes, behaviors, and actions. Gratitude (like joy) is cultivated through intention and awareness.
We can’t choose our circumstances, but we can choose to have joy in our circumstances.
There are seasons of our lives that are more “joyous” than others. Sometimes in the middle of our everyday struggles, it is hard to see what there is to be grateful for. If we can recall past experiences where God brought us through by His faithfulness, we can be grateful in our current season of life.
His faithfulness means that He will never leave us or forsakes us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
I know it is hard to be grateful while you are in seasons of despair, addiction, sickness, or other burdens. I know that is easier to shut down emotionally and not let yourself feel emotions, much less experience joy or gratitude. I was there a few years ago when I battled depression. I didn’t know what my purpose was and as far as I was concerned I didn’t have one. I didn’t feel like I had anything to be thankful for. I was thrown into a completely new life with a new address hundreds of miles away from my family and friends. Circumstances were beyond my control and I felt like I was barely staying afloat.
The thing with depression (as some of you may know) is that you are completely absorbed in your problems and do not notice what is going on around you. Part of my new life involved long periods of me being alone. I remember feeling very isolated and disconnected from everyone and everything around me. I didn’t want to be aware of what was going on because I equated awareness with loneliness.*
This meant that I did everything I could to stay busy, so I didn’t have to be alone with my thoughts If I was busy enough then I would be too busy to realize how alone I felt. I share this with you now because being aware of that dark place in my past, I am so thankful to God for bringing me through that season of my life.
Remembering God’s faithfulness in the past creates gratitude in the present, but in order to cultivate gratitude, we must have awareness.
How can we gain awareness so we can experience the fullness of God?
A practical first step is getting off of our phones and computers and becoming present in conversation and engaged in what is going on around us. (I’m definitely talking to myself here!)
We miss God’s presence when we are not present (ouch!)
Let us stop engaging in things and start engaging with people.
What if we looked at every relationship we have as a gift from God? What if we treated each relationship as an opportunity to really listen and care for each other?
How many of us ask someone how they are doing but not stop and really listen to their answer? What would it mean to you if the next time you ‘re expressing to someone maybe what finical stress you are experiencing or a parenting crisis you are in, that they cared about you enough to really listen to you?
Imagine would it be like to “share in each other’s burdens”. This means looking past our problems and focusing on the hurts and needs of others.
Carry one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
I am convinced we can change the world just by showing care and concern for others.
Showing concern for others means that I am thankful for them and I express my gratitude towards them. How different the world would be if we cared less about ourselves and more about each other.
Love thy neighbor as thyself Mark 12:31
Sweet friends, It is time to put this all into action! I have created a “How to Grow Your Gratitude: 10 Journal Prompts and Action Steps to a More Grateful You!” By subscribing below you can receive this guide to help you cultivate a grateful heart.
By subscribing below, you will get this amazing printable, and be subscribing to both Worshipful Living and Butterfly Beginnings!
Don’t wait for change to happen. Be the change you want to see.
*(I’m launching my emotional freedom growth group which focuses on using spiritual growth tools to learn how to process, understand and handle emotions. This group starts January 23, click HERE for more information)
**If you’ve enjoyed this post want to read more on gratitude and faithfulness, please visit these posts: You (God) Desired Faithfulness Even in the Womb, Prayer, Petition and Thanksgiving, Faithfulness: Feeling or Choice?, He who promised is Faithful.