“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” – Colossians 3:16, The Message
Gratitude can be described as both a responsive feeling and a profound posture. But if you’re waiting for something to happen to stir up that responsive feeling inside of you, you’ll likely be disappointed. We should think of it like a cycle, and the first step in this cycle is actually the posture, which then brings about reason for the responsive feeling.
Maintaining a posture of gratitude means that you are facing and greeting the world with grace even though you don’t necessarily have a particularly obvious reason to be grateful.
Some are now questioning whether the popularity of gratitude teachings is just another fad so I won’t waste time telling you all of the benefits of practicing thankfulness. Although, few would argue that the practice of gratitude is very much a pillar on the path to wholeness.
Embracing a posture of gratitude year-round means going further than somewhat superficial attempts to usher in gratitude with cute Facebook updates in November. You have go deep into an introspective posture of gratitude to see the grace that truly surrounds your life. When our eyes are open to the world around us, we are able to more deeply connect with God’s creation and discover our place in it.
“A sense of astonished gratitude is very near the heart of authentic Christian experience.” –N.T. Wright
Most Americans are likely considering what they are grateful for this week, but don’t let that introspection stop just short of Black Friday. Roll with a constant message in your head to genuinely express gratitude through prayer and communication with the ones you love – and even to perfect strangers.
But let me be clear, this doesn’t mean you throw on a fake smile and pretend that your life is all roses when it’s not. You may have to have the courage to be broken in order to access a posture of gratitude in your life. It’s out of this brokenness that we can find Christ and recognize His presence in our every moment. It’s a critical step to recognize God’s help to pull you out of your brokenness–and then to recognize that you’ll need His help for the very next moment as well.
“Gratitude exults in the past benefits of God and says to faith, ‘Embrace more of these benefits for the future, so that my happy work of looking back on God’s deliverance may continue.’” – John Piper
A little bonus: if you’d like some practical application tips on how to utilize a posture of gratitude to make the most of bad experiences, check out this video from Derek Halpern at socialtriggers.com.