Our friends at Fuller’s Thrive Center have been researching gratitude and its role in a thriving life. Can I share with you two of their most interesting findings?
Gratitude is a virtue that can be cultivated through intentional practice. That’s no surprise to those of you who have been in a Formation Group! Think of those small habits that help you discover and express your gratitude—things like praying before meals or thanking God for something at every red light. Over time, those regular practices are indeed shaping your heart towards gratitude.
Gratitude is a signpost to what is meaningful and joy giving in our lives. Wow! When I feel listless, my mind often stews on what I lack or lurches for entertainment. And I know from experience that doesn’t work! I just end up right back where I started. What if I met apathy instead with gratitude, trusting God to illuminate for me where I might find in him joy and rejuvenated purpose?
Dr. Pam King from the Thrive Center writes:
A gratitude “pause” serves as an embodied reminder that deepens our relationship to the Giver, creating devotion and increasing awareness of good things. Moments of thanksgiving are like slowing down the car to enjoy a beautiful view. They give us time to behold a gift. They help us to understand that we are worthy of gifts. Perhaps most importantly, they remind us of the Giver, the one who gives us life and all good things.
As I’ve reflected on my gratitudes from this past year in the work of our center, they have indeed been a signpost to his goodness. We have gotten to see God move through both conversation and quiet, prayer and listening, community and solitude.
What are your regular practices for gratitude? Is there one you would like to commit to in the weeks ahead? Consider setting a reminder or adding it to your calendar.
May God grow the small seeds of our gratitude into a mighty harvest of joyful clarity of purpose and tested confidence in his love for us!