My wife recently upgraded to the new iPhone 5. Compared to her old iPhone 3Gs, it’s chock-full of genius technological advancements. From voice-guided GPS to personal assistant Siri answering every imaginable inquiry, it will do almost anything—short of making her morning coffee and bringing it to her nightstand. I still get to do that. Only in America, would we read and watch reviews that talk about the “Five Things Wrong with the iPhone 5” with complaints that include, “it feels too light and too thin.” It seems to me that we live in a culture that lacks an attitude of gratitude.

 

My dear friend Tony Hostetler who died at age 89½ last week, taught me to live every day with gratitude. It could be attributed to Tony growing up on an Amish farm in Ohio where hard work, no electricity and horse-drawn carriages and farm implements were the norm. But I don’t think so. I’ve been spiritually mentored by Tony for nearly 27 years and I believe his gratitude comes from so much more than the environment of the first 18 years of his life.

Tony taught me that gratitude comes from daily reflecting on God’s grace, goodness and provision. It was such a consistent pattern of his life for so many years that it didn’t matter that his body was fading and he was under the care of hospice in his final weeks. Everyone who went to visit Tony in the hospital, hospice or assisted living, walked away being encouraged and inspired. Gratitude just seeped out of his pores.

Experiencing and expressing gratitude is an important part of a healthy life at every age—especially as we mature. There are benefits. Gratitude opens the heart and activates positive emotions centers in the brain. Regular practice of gratitude can change the way our brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns. The positive emotions can sooth distress and broaden our thinking patterns so we develop a larger and more expansive view of our lives. Gratitude is an emotion of connectedness, which reminds us we are not in this world all alone.

Here are a few things that might help you get started in experiencing more gratitude:

  • Deliberately meditate today on all the things in your life that God has blessed you with.
  • Write out a gratitude list this week.
  • The holidays are a great time to express your gratitude to friends and family via cards, actions or gifts.
  • Serve some one in need on a regular basis by volunteering one hour a week.
  • Be intentionally generous with your time, talent and treasure for the next 90 days.

I want to live my life with more gratitude. It’s easier for me to complain than to be thankful. I’m going to make my list right now.

QUESTION: What is one thing you have tried that helps you increase your gratitude? Please share your comment below.

9 responses to Live Every Day With Gratitude

  1. Pingback: Fruit Full Faith | DENNIS GINGERICH

  2. Chuck on October 16, 2012 at 9:48 PM Reply

    Hole In The Gospel, by Richard Stearns. A book written by the president of World Vision showed me how relative
    gratitude is. In many parts of
    the world people are grateful for what we take for granted.
    Clean water. When I turn on
    the faucet I realize just how blessed I am. Thats My
    gratitude check…..

  3. Cindy Burke on October 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM Reply

    What keeps me grounded in gratitude is the fact that there are many people who have much less than I do. I have so much to be thankful for – health, a loving family, a job, and a home. Yet I could live with much less, and be content.

    It was very irksome to me when my mother would say that she had to give everything up to move to FL, and now she was losing everything to move in with my sister. Yet she could not see that she had family, a home to live in, clothes on her back (and many more), and a truck full of her belongings! But this was her mentality of 84 years – what she had she wanted to hold on to with a clenched fist.

    Thank you for your blogs, Dennis, and keeping me mindful of my attitude of gratitude.

  4. Lilliam Gonzalez on October 16, 2012 at 3:21 PM Reply

    Counting my blessings!!!And this blog is one of them….

    • Dennis Gingerich on October 17, 2012 at 1:07 PM Reply

      Thank you Lilliam. I’m glad the blog is a blessing!

  5. Judi Stahly on October 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM Reply

    Thank you, Dennis. I have been studying verses on gratitude and keeping a gratitude list ever since reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. Reading her blog also encourages me to keep giving thanks, because it’s really the thing God most wants from us. Acknowledging Him for who he is and what he has done and being grateful for all of that is what separates us from unbelievers.

  6. Sandra on October 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM Reply

    Whenever I get down, I remind myself how blessed I really am. I have a home, loving family around me, food on the table. Everyone is relatively healthy and have jobs. We truly are blessed. We need to be satisfied with the basics in life and quit trying to “one up” others with material things. I truly believe God takes care of our NEEDS which is much more important than our wants. I thank God every day for all my blessings and am truly grateful He is so faithful.

  7. Ron on October 16, 2012 at 8:57 AM Reply

    I am grateful that I was able to observe that gratefulness close up for 66 years. I never heard him complain, even with 2 terminal illnesses.

  8. Loretta on October 16, 2012 at 8:37 AM Reply

    Dennis, I have been blessed by your blog and especially concerning your comments on this friend. How appropriate for me to read about your comments on expressing gratitude on this my 59th birthday. I am committing to writing a list of gratitude today and each day be more aware of how God has blessed me with family, friends and especially His love and compassion.

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