It’s Monday morning. The alarm abruptly startles you awake, ripping you from your dream and rudely reminding you it’s time for a return to reality. A week ahead of the routine chaos awaits you the moment you step foot out of bed. Gratitude is probably the last thing on your mind (more likely it’s wonderings like if you set the coffee maker last night or if the dog is up for his heartworm meds or if your kids need check-ups before school starts).
I know it’s not Thanksgiving (ugh I wish I could beeline past all of this oppressive summer heat to autumn), but Monday morning is the most critical time to embrace this sentiment. It’s the start to your week, and starting off with the right mindset can solidify your trajectory for the rest of the week. By stopping and expressing gratitude for the gifts God has placed in your life at that moment, you are acknowledging His power, His control, and His faithfulness in your life.
Let’s be real, this is easier said than done. Most Monday mornings, I am half-awake, dragging my teacher-dressed self to the coffee maker, trying not to let anxiety overwhelm me with the roughly bajillion things I must accomplish with my third graders in the next five days. Before I walk out the door with my multitude of bags (teachers need lots of bags of stuff to make it through the day), I know I need to center my thinking in order to make it through the day and week ahead.
Cue the journal.
Somewhere between the oversized mugs of coffee and the eight-minute commute to my elementary school (hey I’ve done my time with the hour commute…I’ve earned this), I pull out my journal and Bible and get my gratitude on. This is a process that takes under ten minutes and makes me a completely different person each day (just ask my coworkers…I’m pretty peppy in the morning). I find a quiet place in my house, crack open the journal, and start listing to God all of the things I am thankful for that He has given me. Psalms 44:8 reminds us, “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever”. Forever. That’s kinda a long time, y’all. When we take just a few minutes every day to whisper our thanks, jot down our blessings, we acknowledge that God provides us with everything we need, sometimes without us even asking. (In case you are feeling a little skeptical about this, research shows that reflecting on gratitude regularly improves immunity, blood pressure, alertness, and muchos more).
Case in point. Last summer, my husband and I set out to do the responsible adult milestone of buying a house. We spent hours every week with our realtor (who is a SAINT), looking at a lot of fixer-uppers, and praying that God would lead us to our new home. After three months, we thought we finally found our home we could start nesting in. Nope. We were outbid by just a few thousand dollars. So, we got back in the saddle. We spend MORE hours with our realtor, and two months later thought we now had our home. Nope. That one ended up flooding.
At this point, I was really struggling with the gratitude-thing. Why was God doing this to us? But we continued to pray, we continued to praise Him for protecting us from these previous decisions that clearly weren’t apart of His plan, and the calendar pages continued to flip. Until December. He pressed on our hearts to look at a home that had been way over our budget before, more than we thought we needed or deserved. And well what did you know? It was suddenly closer to our price-ranger and we closed on it two days before Christmas.
We can all think of a time where it has been a struggle to praise God for the circumstances in our lives. Maybe you are going through something right now that is making you furrow your brow and grit your teeth. But I challenge you to praise Him through it. We can’t always see how He is working, why He is working, BUT He is working on our behalf.
1) Take 10 minutes, retreat to somewhere you won’t be bothered, and make a list of 5 things you are grateful for right now.
2) Do this everyday this week and see how it alters your outlook for everyday. Ask Him to develop a heart of gratitude within you.
3) At the end of the week, we can check in again together and see how it went. Do you already journal? How have you seen it impact your life?
Until tomorrow, be well!
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!