Have you, like me, seen signs in LOTS of stores lately with the words: Thankful, Grateful, Blessed? As I stood in Kirkland’s the other day, I couldn’t help but stare into space, hoping I really have a grasp on what each of those words means.
Maybe it’s my age, but I don’t want to go through life with all of the focus on myself. Do you?
Let’s spend a little time breaking the words down a bit. What does it mean to be thankful? Do we live our lives with a grateful heart? How has God blessed us and are we acknowledging His blessings?
According to the Merriam-Webster definition, thankful means “conscious of benefit received; expressive thanks; well pleased”.
I say ‘thank you’ several times every day. My husband and I taught our kids to say ‘thank you’ from the time they could utter their first phrases. But, often these words come out of our mouths simply as a reaction.
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Simple ways you can genuinely express being thankful and demonstrate that you are conscious of the benefit received:
1. Look someone in the eye, smile, and say ‘thank you’.
If someone has done something to express kindness to you in some way, let them know you appreciate it by acknowledging them. A kind act can be as simple as someone holding a door for you, picking something up that has fallen out of your arms, or giving you a compliment. If someone does something kind for you, thank them.
Being kind ourselves can also turn our day around. I find if I focus less on myself and turn my attention to others, I am in a much better mood.
2. Send someone a quick Thank You card.
Few things make my day more than getting personal mail. It takes very little time, effort, and money to write out a quick thank you note for a kind gesture that someone has shown.
I have LOTS of cards for all sorts of occasions that I keep “just in case”. I love having neutral cards that I can use for anything.
Writing a thank you note can make you feel good about yourself too. It honestly feels good to show thanks to someone and let them know you appreciate their thoughtfulness.
3. If sending a card in the mail is not your style, send a quick ‘thank you’ text.
Perhaps you think the gesture someone has shown you doesn’t warrant a mailed card or maybe it’s just not your style. Send a text with a simple thank you. You won’t regret it!
Once again, I turned to Merriam-Webster for the definition of grateful: “appreciative of benefits received; expressing gratitude; affording pleasure or contentment; pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated”.
To be honest, the definitions of thankful and grateful sound very much alike to me! But, gratitude appears to be more of a feeling you have in your heart. When you are grateful for something, it typically has significance in your life.
Ways to express gratitude:
If you have a special talent or gift that God has given you, show your gratitude by sharing it with others. If you don’t have a specific talent you feel led to share, give one of your most precious gifts…time!
Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the world and feel as though you are contributing in some way. As with all of the ways to express thankfulness above, giving your time will benefit you as much as the receiver!
2. Demonstrate optimism when possible
Our world is full of negativity. We can all agree that being around positive, optimistic individuals has a way of soothing our souls. Being positive shows you are grateful for your circumstances.
This doesn’t mean your life has to be perfect! Rather, it shows that despite imperfect circumstances, you are finding a way to be grateful for the blessings you’ve been given.
3. Be kind
Sometimes being kind takes a little bit of work, sometimes a lot! Perhaps you aren’t always surrounded by those that bring out the best in you.
Look for opportunities to be kind. Offer assistance when someone looks lost (literally or figuratively), share a sincere compliment, reach out to someone going through a rough time, be the first to apologize, be considerate of others. Just take a moment to observe life around you, and I’m certain the needs of others will become more obvious.
Anticipate someone’s needs and act on it! Anyone that has gone through a major sickness or death in the family would likely agree how much they appreciate someone taking the initiative to DO something rather than just suggest that they could help if needed.
A couple of friends of mine consistently comment, share, and like my blog posts. I’m beyond grateful for those acts of kindness that show their support for our friendship. It would be foolish of me to think every single post I write really resonates with them. BUT, they “like”, comment, or share because they support me and want to be a cheerleader for people they care about.
Ultimately, being kind can often make you vulnerable and typically requires some level of work. But, as I’ve stated, the payback for your heart is typically worth the effort.
So often people just want their voice to be heard. Even if you do not agree with someone, there is so much value in listening to what others have to say.
Show you are grateful for their perspective. Perhaps you will be surprised to learn something new to change your own point of view. But, you don’t have to change your mind! Merely listening will show that you respect their opinion, you respect them.
According to Merriam-Webster ‘blessed’ means “held in reverence; honored in worship; of or enjoying happiness; bringing pleasure, contentment, or good fortune.”
What better source than the Bible to help us understand what it means to be blessed. Here are a few of my favorite verses about being blessed.
1. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
2. Psalm 34:8 (NIV)
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
3. Matthew 5:6 (NIV)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
How to acknowledge God’s blessings:
Acknowledge blessings by being thankful to God, declaring His greatness to others. We are called to pray for things we need, but also to give praise for what we’ve been given.
Let’s go into this Thanksgiving holiday, thankful to God for all of the blessings, big and small, in our lives!
Finally, the Thankful, Grateful, Blessed printable that inspired this post! Click on the printable below and sign up for my newsletter. You’ll then have access to my ENTIRE printables library, including this one!
Thanks for sticking with me today. I hope this has caused you to think a little deeper about what it means to be thankful, grateful, blessed. It has me!
Surely you can find someone to write a quick note to today. Put a stamp on it and stick it in the mail! You’ll be glad you did 😉