Bonnie Gray is author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest, garnering starred review praise from Publisher's Weekly, named as one of PW's top 6 notable new religion authors. Bonnie is a featured contributor at (in)courage and her writing is nationally syndicated, spotlighted by Relevant Magazine, Catalyst Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, and Christianity Today. A UCLA graduate, Bonnie has been a missionary, ministry entrepreneur and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. Bonnie serves up shots of faith for the daily grind on her blog Faith Barista.com. Bonnie lives in Northern California with her husband Eric and their two sons.
We all fall into these now and then.
Sure, it happens when we're tired. Or too busy.
Some days, we simply wake up in the morning and we can find ourselves there.
I'm not talking about the holes in the ground, dug up by construction crews. I'm talking about the snags we find ourselves tangled up, in everyday life.
Too much to do.
Too many expectations.
The daily grind.
So, what do you do when you hit those patches?
I try to work on my To Do list. It's sometimes a matter of just too many things piled up that I've neglected to tend to. It's nice when my cloudy mood clears up when I catch up on chores.
But, there are days where any amount of problem solving or productivity is just not going to cut it.
I'm having trouble being thankful.
These are the times my soul needs a pick-me-up.
I have to be careful not to go shopping when I'm in this place of need, whether for food, clothes, or knick knacks. Sometimes, my emotional energy is so spent, I don't even want to pick up a book.
That's when I turn to gratitude.
The root word of gratitude is gratus. It's actually means ---
How we each express this emotion is richly, vibrantly unique to each of our personalities.
For me, when I have trouble breaking into thanksgiving for the little things in life, I practice gratitude for others.
People are visible reminders of grace to me from God.
I write Letters of Gratitude.
People reflect God's grace to me. They reflect Jesus, sharing their thoughts, friendship, and time with me.
I'm not talking about forever friendships.
It could have been --
a simple conversation offered,
a smile they shared,
a listening heart,
sometimes not even directed at me, but I saw something loving or kind someone said or did,
the way they made me laugh, think, or cry.
So, what I do is this: I write letters of gratitude for people in my life.
I express my gratitude -- my appreciation -- for others:
1. Invite someone over for coffee.
2. Invite myself over for a visit.
3. Write a card to someone I haven't talked to in a long time, reminiscing a memory and just to say I'm thinking of them.
4. Email to say how much I appreciated something someone did or said (recently or even many years ago). I may not even be the recipient of their words/actions.
5. Call up a new friend on the phone and valuing them, by showing interest in them.
Because people are busy, my invitation may end up as a date on the calendar and not for that day. That's okay.
I also leave voicemails often. People don't always pick up to answer. But, I still leave a message of that expresses my appreciation simply.
By the time I've done #1-#5, it's amazing how much my soul is filled with thanksgiving.
My soul remembers it has received grace.
I remember in my heart how God is good. I wake up to how He is present in my life, through the paths that He intersects with mine, even if it's for that moment.
I've learned that gratitude is different than indebtedness for this reason.
Indebtedness to someone is a grasping for possession. We feel obligated to return the favor or we obligate others to always be there or say the words we want to hear.
Gratitude is grace. Gratitude allows us to open our hands to receive, open our hearts to savor and enjoy that moment, and release both of myself and others to continue blessing others and being grace to them.
This is one reason why I feel blessed when you visit here or simply read in quiet comraderie.
It is a gratitude for the moment God's placed in our hands.
We leave each other with the gift of grace.
Next time, your soul needs a pick-me-up, try it.
Write letters of gratitude.
Write them simply and set your heart free to give grace.
You may write them in a different way, since your love language may not be quality time or words of affirmation. Maybe you express gratitude through --
acts of service,
or giving gifts.
Whatever it is, practice receiving grace by giving grace ot others.
I'm smiling even now, imagining God refreshing your heart with a peace and joy that comes from being touched by a thankful heart. A soul picked up by grace.
“These God-chosen lives all around – what splendid friends they make!” ~ Psalm 16:3 (The Message)
What encourages gratitude in you?
Pull up a chair. I savor your thoughts and your stories. Click to share a comment.
By Bonnie Gray, the FaithBarista serving up shots of faith for everyday life.
Bonnie Gray is an inspiring Christian writer and blogger, offering encouragement to keep faith fresh in the daily grind. Her writing springs from the belief that the beauty of faith often takes place when life goes off script. Bonnie is the Founder of FaithBarista.com and featured writer for Hallmark subsidiary DaySpring's (in)Courage. Bonnie is a native Californian living in the heart of Silicon Valley with her best friend Hubby, wrangling their two heaven-sent boys on the homestead.
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