I believe that gratitude can change your life.
When I was ten years old, I picked up a little notebook and began a habit that has affected my life ever since. I called it my joy journal. In it I chronicled the bits and pieces of my ordinary days that made me smile, and reminded me to be grateful. Sometimes it was big things–like the day I got my first violin. But most of the time, it was just the little things, like the way the sun makes snow sparkle like a million diamonds.
It was just a simple habit of looking for beauty in each day, and I had no idea how much I would come to rely on the act of choosing joy and gratitude as an adult to get me through the tough times.
It was as an adult that I realized that gratitude is more than an attitude that we pick up or put down depending on our day. It needs to be a lifestyle, such a part of us that no matter what is going on around us, we can find that inner strength that choosing to see good brings to hard times. That’s why we have to make it a habit.
In Choosing Gratitude, Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes beautifully of the journey that purposing to be grateful takes us on. This is one of those books that is filled with sentences that you just want to sit and savor.
I found her advice to be practical, and so heartfelt. I could almost imagine that we were sitting together talking over tea about the joy and the pain of gratitude. And I felt so encouraged by the practical way she presented the tools to making the choice of gratitude each and every day–even on the impossibly heart-breaking ones.
For me, the choice to look for joy in my life has helped me through more than one tough time. It’s made me a better, stronger person. I’ve found that choosing gratitude now helps me to have peace and be more readily trusting of God’s ability to take care of me when the hard times come. In so many little ways, gratitude has changed me. It’s made me happier. More hopeful. More in tune to how much good there still is in life.
But it’s still a choice. And it’s not always an easy one. That’s why I need to read Choosing Gratitude every so often. So I can keep fresh in mind why gratitude is not an option but a necessity in my life.
What’s something you’re choosing to be grateful for today? Comment for your chance to win one of two copies of Choosing Gratitude, graciously offered by Moody Publishers. (Congratulations to Micaela and Samantha, selected by random.org as the winners! Giveaway ended March 27.)