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When Gratitude Takes Grit

11.17.18 | by Stephanie O'Brien

    At Mill City we often say that “generosity is something God wants FOR us not FROM us.” There are many reasons that I think this is true, but one important reason is from a generous heart flows a spirit of gratitude.

    When we are not people of generosity -  then a spirit of scarcity flows from our lives.

    I feel like gratitude can get put it a category of being a little flowery and trite. Maybe even a little soft - we think about those awkward moments with people we see once a year going around sharing what we are thankful for at a holiday meal.

    (Maybe it’s not awkward for you - but I have has some awkward meals!)

    But gratitude is not weak, its not soft, its not trite. In fact for most of us, in many seasons, it takes a significant amount of strength and courage - it takes GRIT.

    Some of you are in a season where generosity and gratitude come naturally, but for others, that is just not where you are at.

    Sometimes in life it takes grit to have gratitude.

    It doesn’t mean we ignore the difficult things going on in life - or pretend they aren’t a big deal. Gratitude is a practice we choose even in the midst of the difficulties of life.

    The good news is, gratitude has some great benefits in our lives. That makes sense if it is something God wants for us, it will be good for us!

    There are many health benefits that stem from generosity. Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis and a leading scientific expert on the science of gratitude says gratitude, “…can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep. Gratitude reduces lifetime risk for depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders, and is a key resiliency factor in the prevention of suicide.” Read more here.

    Any time of the year is a good season to practice generosity when we see that it is what God wants for us because it is so GOOD for us!

    Here are some simple practices that can help us grow in gratitude:

    • Start a gratitude journal. Simply write down a few things you are thankful for every day in a journey specifically set apart for this purpose. After a month, consider how this practice as impacted your life.
    • Make a gratitude jar. This is a simple way to express gratitude and also share the practice with others in your family or roommates you share your home with. Here is a link with some instructions to guide you.
    • Don’t wait for a potentially awkward meal with people you only see once a year to share thankfulness with others. Perhaps you could go out to coffee with the intent to share gratitude stories with someone you trust who knows you well.