why expressing gratitude leads to joy
“You flourish when you’re grateful. If you don’t express your gratitude, it doesn’t exist.”
November is here, and I can’t believe I just wrote that. Is it just me or has 2018 flown by? Over the next three weeks, we are going to walk through a series called, Give Thanks. Why is this important? Because our expressed gratitude leads to joy, and I don’t want you or me to miss a minute of it this season.
Kyle and I love our church in Nashville. We especially love the messages from Kevin Queen, our lead pastor. He is kind, relatable, loves biscuits, cheers for Georgia, and preaches Biblical truth in a refreshing way. We don’t know Kevin personally, but respect and appreciate what he has done for us and our church.
One of the first topics Kevin preached on in October 2017 was gratitude. I learned the reason we may not feel as joyful as we’d like, is because we don’t create enough space in our lives to express gratitude. We let distractions, busyness and so many other things get in the way of experiencing true joy. The Thanksgiving season is a wonderful time to feel grateful, but gratitude and joy don’t have to be seasonal emotions. We have the power to experience joy every single day by simply creating space to express our gratitude.
So, how can we prioritize expressing gratitude in a practical way?
It’s called the First and Ten. This simple practice means starting each day by writing down ten things you are grateful for. That’s it!
For the past year, I have practiced the First and Ten (almost) every single day. Candidly, there are some days I stop at 8. There are some days I write Jesus three times just to make it to 10. Other days, I make it to 15. The point isn’t getting 10 on the dot every single time, the point is starting our day with a posture of humility and gratitude toward God. It’s taking time to remember life is not all about us, and that’s a good thing.
I’m not a crier, but I have gotten to number 6 or 7 on my list and found myself in tears. Why? Because when I truly realize how much I have been given, and take time to give all of the credit to a good, loving, perfect Father, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy. This kind of joy isn’t determined by what is going on inside of our homes or outside of our doors; it’s the kind of joy that is rooted in knowing Christ. There is evidence of His extraordinary love in the seemingly ordinary if we take time to see it.
So, what are you grateful for? If you need some ideas, here is a list of things I’ve written:
Ice cream (Jeni’s, duh.)
The Holy Spirit
A Clemson win
You can make your list whatever you want it to be! Let’s find the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. I hope and pray this encourages you to start expressing gratitude daily, and leads you into many seasons of joy.
What are 10 things you are grateful for today?
Will you commit to practicing the First and Ten for a week? A month?
Is there someone in particular you are thankful for? Tell them!