A Personal Reflection on Gratitude

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During this time of year, it is common for us to reflect on the things in our lives that provide a sense of gratitude, and that’s good for us to do so. But like the subjects of “Rest” or “Sabbath,” if we only wait until we are on vacation or a rare chance at a sabbatical to truly rest, we won’t find it refreshing. These are meant to be practices spun into and through our chaotic lives to provide an alternative to the hectic pace our culture espouses.  

With the dawn of each new year, I spend time prayerfully considering a theme that God might have for me. Sometimes this eventually comes as a phrase or a word that I spend time throughout the year focusing on and journaling about. This past January, the word I received was “grateful.” I genuinely feel that I am a positive person and pretty grateful already, so I wasn’t super excited about it, but I wrote it down and went about my year.

However, as I reflect back on these past 11 months, there are so many moments for which I am truly grateful, even though they were extremely hard at the time (and some continue to be).  There are moments of loss in this year, but gratitude in that our family could travel and be there with the loved ones prior to their passing. There are moments of extreme challenges and changes in life, but gratitude to find myself doing things I love with the people I love the most.   

As we head into the upcoming seasons, I know this is hard for many, sweet for some, and stressful for most :-)  I am blessed to have had a prompting in January that helped prepare me for my own journey this year as it has allowed me to build gratitude into my daily/weekly rhythms and allows for me to reflect during this time of year over the multitude of small events that I would have missed amidst the normal storms of life.

Allow me to share just a few practices that have helped me this year… and consider which ones (or others) you might be able to incorporate into your daily routine this coming season to help you through it 🙂

  • At dinner, have each person share something from their day that they are grateful for.
  • Take a moment during the day to pause. Set an alarm or use a tool like the One Minute Pause App to spend 1-2 minutes during your day to just breathe!
  • Practice Benevolent Detachment.
  • Journal… I know it takes time, but just a few notes allows your soul space to reflect.
  • Take one day (or one morning) a month to get away from the keyboard and get outside.
  • Don’t watch the news (or limit your intake)... We all know that news that sells is mostly bad, but it expands your worries and concerns to things you cannot control.
  • Spend time with your neighbors and those people around you… most people are pretty reasonable when you get to know them… not all, but most *grin.*
  • Read a book that challenges your assumptions around resources. (e.g. I recently read “A Beautiful Constraint” by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden… which made me grateful even for constraints within my life/business as they provide motivation for creativity and a chance to embrace an abundance mindset,)
  • [Insert your own - exercise, time outside, Yoga, meditation, listening to worship music in the morning, etc.]

My friends… may you find ways to incorporate small amounts of gratitude and rest into your rhythms. I pray blessings over each of you as we head into this special season and especially as we head into December and reflect on how the God of the universe came to join us for a time (Talk about abundance of resources/creativity at our fingertips!)  

May your journey in the next few months have moments of gratefulness and sweetness, even amidst the pain!

~Micah

 

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