Cultivating Grateful hearts with the Gratitude Dare

Cultivating Grateful Hearts Through the Gratitude Dare
Cultivating Grateful Hearts Through the Gratitude Dare

It’s that time of year. We know how the season is supposed to go down. Besides pumpkin pie and turkey, we are encouraged to cultivate attitudes of gratitude and to have grateful hearts.

Such as these 4 attitudes.

Count our blessings.

Be thankful.

Express our gratefulness.

Show our generosity.

And maybe we do and are these things during Thanksgiving. Perhaps some of us manage to pull it off most of November or even the entire year. 

But when we look at this list, do we think of our lives, our family, and more importantly, our God? And is it with grateful hearts?

Because sometimes I epitomize these attitudes and other times not so much. A few years ago, as I reflected on gratitude, God spoke to my heart. 

Grateful people are generous people. Generous people are grateful people. 

This exemplifies real grateful hearts. It proves true with me. When gratefulness rises in my heart, I’m more generous with my money and time and service. Likewise, when my generosity bubbles over on others, gratefulness swells in my soul. 

Then, I express gratitude for what the Lord has given me and for the great things He has done. I realize I’m blessed beyond measure.

Yet, how do we cultivate attitudes of gratitude in all the areas of our lives, for the people in our lives and for the God who gives us life? How do we cultivate true and authentic grateful hearts?

Even further, are gratitude, generosity, and thanksgiving possible January through December—not just during November or on Thanksgiving Day?

Also, you may wonder how this is possible during the tough year we’ve all experienced in our lives and around the world. But God’s Word and promises remain true, no matter what’s going on around us.

So where do we start? Let’s use the list in the introduction and unpack each one.

(1.) Count Our Blessings

Cultivating Grateful Hearts Through the Gratitude Dare

Everyone brace yourselves. This is going to blow our minds! The Lord provides:

  • His children’s basic physical needs. 
  • Our people like our spouse, children, extended family, friends, and Himself in the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • Our skills (jobs), talents, spiritual gifts, and identity in Christ. 
  • Eternal life, abundant life, and life itself…the very breath in our lungs.
  • Every spiritual blessing. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” Ephesians 1:3 (ESV). While it’s not an exhaustive list, these include amazing grace, never-ending mercy, unconditional and undying love, unsurpassed peace, real hope, authentic faith, unwavering truth (the Bible), overflowing joy, God’s fullness for our emptiness, and the Lord’s goodness, kindness, and compassion. 

Dare I say if we counted our blessings, really made a list, our mouths might gape open and our hearts fill with gratitude. So…go ahead…make a list. Count your blessings. I dare you.

Our cups overflow in Christ.

(2.) Be Thankful

Psalm 100 exclaims a thankfulness to the Lord. Look at verse 4, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (ESV) The psalmist paints a picture of thankfulness for God’s goodness and mercy in our lives and so much more.

And thanksgiving often changes our perspective. Whether life is going great or we are walking through hardships. Thanking God for all He’s done and all He will do helps cultivate an attitude of gratitude. 

Why not thank God for everyone and everything He’s given us? After we make our count-my-blessings list, verbally and prayerfully thank God for each one. Naming our blessings expresses grateful hearts.

(3.) Express Our Gratefulness 

Recently, I told a friend I was grateful for her friendship. Yet, when was the last time I expressed those same sentiments to family members and to the Lord? Some examples: 

  • A spouse, “Honey, I’m so grateful you’re in my life and for all you mean to our family.”
  • Children, “I thank the Lord He allowed me to be your mother. You are special to me.”
  • Friends, “Your encouragement in my life and my Christian walk means more than you know. Grateful for you.”
  • God, “Lord, I stand amazed at Your craftsmanship in me as Creator, Your faithfulness and care to me as Father, Your voice and direction to me as Guide, Your revelation and wisdom to me as Truth, and Your redemption and protection for me as Rescuer and Deliverer. Thank You, Lord. I’m so grateful.”

(4.) Show Our Generosity

As already established, our gratefulness directly affects our generosity. Therefore, we ask ourselves if we are generous with our time, money, service, love, spiritual gifts, and forgiveness. 

Do we show these acts of generosity to our family, church family, friends, neighbors, community, and the least of these—hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, and imprisoned—as defined in Matthew 25?

Yes, it’s that time of year. But take the Gratitude Dare to cultivate grateful hearts all year long. 

Cultivating Grateful Hearts Through the Gratitude Dare

I dare you.

Which attitude of gratitude comes easily for you? Which one is most difficult? 

Here’s my Inspire a Fire post: Finding God in Thanksgiving and Keeping Him There

Featured Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash/Top Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash/Middle Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash/Bottom Photo by Amanda Frank on Unsplash

Karen Friday

Whether the spoken or written word, Karen thrives in moving an audience to experience laughter, tears, surprise, and deep reflection. She not only possesses an affection for words (just ask her family), but she also cherishes God’s Word. Karen is an award-winning writer who has published both devotions and articles with a mission to know Jesus more and make Him known. She contributes to several national sites while she works on her first non-fiction book. In the blogging world, she is referred to as “Girl Friday” where she shares a central message: you are never far from hope. And she considers her life as a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader a sacred calling. Karen and her husband Mike reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Connect with her blog community, Hope is Among Us.

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  1. Thanks, Karen. Your reminders give us the right attitude to have every day. Thankful hearts get us through the worse times when we know God can be trusted with the outcome. Have a blessed thanks-giving.

    1. “Thankful hearts get us through the worse times when we know God can be trusted with the outcome.” Well said, Mary. It’s all about the heart and not letting our circumstances dictate our thankfulness to the Lord!

  2. My students are filling a gratitude egg basket: adding 12 things they are grateful for. (6 in class, 6 at home with their parents.) It is so important to think of things I am grateful for; even in the midst of chronic pain, there are plenty of things!. I think of the Bing Crosby song from White Christmas: “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep/ I count my blessings instead of sheep.”

  3. Such a needed and important reminder. All this talk about the bad 2020 has brought is lately making me think about all the GOOD it’s brought, too!

  4. Great words of wisdom. Thanks Karen, I appreciate all you do to share your wisdom with me. I am thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. God bless.

  5. Wonderful reminders, Karen! I especially appreciated the practical little things we should remember to say to our spouse, our children and friends. So small, but it goes a long, long way. Thank you for being a faithful friend to me and to Jesus. You are an inspiration! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  6. I think I don’t express my gratitude to people enough, especially family members. Hmm… Maybe I take them for granted. I’ll be spending a few days away with my family, including my daughter-in-law of 6 months. I will try to express my gratitude to them and even draw it out of them as well during our talks around the dinner table. Thank you for this, Karen.

  7. People do find it, I think, more difficult to be thankful this year than other years. Perhaps this year can be a reminder of how much we truly do have. And how blessed we really are. Thanks for this great reminder, Karen.

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