How to Have More Gratitude Than Grumble
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father through him." Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
With Christmas just around the corner, it can be easy to fly by Thanksgiving in a flurry of activity, stress or excitement without being changed at all by gratitude … well, unless you count the extra couple of pounds around our middles from overdosing on mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie.
In Canada, Thanksgiving falls in October, which I think is a splendid plan. It offers more time to recover and refocus before Christmas.
Often in our fast-paced culture, we try to cram a lot into a short period of time. Therefore, slowing down to savor moments in our homes has to be a deliberate, intentional goal.
Whether you’ve already enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner or are still looking forward to it, we can use this season to reset our habits and perspectives at home.
I know what you might be thinking if your home is in chaos right now, and everyone is greeting your requests with more grumble than gratitude. It’s not always easy to focus on the positives, is it?
We try to instill in our kids the idea of looking for the gift in everything, rather than just focusing on hardships. One Thanksgiving we came up with a list of 20 little things to be grateful for, which helped give our family a new perspective.
But it isn’t just kids who benefit from an attitude shift. We all can use a gentle nudge to practice the habit of gratitude at home. Here are three practical ways I’ve found to transform my own attitude in each room of my house:
1. Gratitude in the kitchen.
The process of cleaning a house and fixing meals can feel like an endless loop. But instead of feeling overwhelmed by the regularity of chores, we can refocus our hearts to practice gratitude for the gift of a home to care for.
The kitchen has traditionally been considered an area where nurturing takes place, so as we prepare food, clean counters and empty the sink each day, we can be reminded that the joy and tender care we show in taking care of this space God provided will establish an atmosphere of gratefulness, grace and love.
2. Thankfulness in the dining room.
Is your dining table covered with papers and clutter every day? Establish a daily practice of thankfulness by creating an inviting gathering space. When we treasure our gifts we take care of them, so be inspired to see this table as a sacred space to bless your loved ones.
Grab a hot soapy rag from the kitchen and a basket to begin a new nightly routine. Corral all the clutter in the basket and let everyone pick out his or her own stuff to put away. Wipe the table so you have a clean surface. If you have kids, they can help make a centerpiece out of seasonal elements. Arrange candles to set the mood as everyone sits down. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just have fun with it every night. Take a moment to look at each face around the table and thank God for them.
3. Grace in the living room.
Whether you have kids, roommates, dogs or a husband, it’s easy to get frustrated by the mess others make in our space. Use this season to practice a new habit of looking for opportunities to show God’s love to people right there in your living room.
At the end of the day when everyone is tired and the upkeep of the house is spiraling out of control, take a deep breath and offer grace instead of griping. Say a prayer of gratitude for the mess makers in your home and if necessary, invest in training and correction at a more productive time.
Dear Lord, thank You for this home and for Your precious Word upon which I can build a solid and beautiful sanctuary for my family. May gratefulness be ever-present in my heart and home to the glory of Your Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 24:3-4, "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take a moment to look around your home. What are you most grateful for?
What are some ways you can reset the atmosphere of your home this season to make room for gratitude?