Y'all, there are more books, blogs and blabberings on gratitude than you could ever hope to read so why in the world am I going to attempt to add one more? Well, because it's just that dang important. Here's my two cents on the one word that cultivates 183,000,000 web pages...
Gratitude makes you happier.
That about sums it up. But, because I'm Italian and never tell a short story, and, I guess it is my blog, let's continue!
I think there is a road map to gratitude. And while I don't believe the road to thankfulness is a straight shot, I do believe there are three thoroughfares that will get you there faster and three detours that will keep you frustrated.
Rob Kuban says it fabulously: The Bible calls us to allow our convictions, not our circumstances, to govern our sense of contentment. True, biblical contentment is a conviction that Christ’s power, purpose and provision is sufficient for every circumstance. We are to learn how to walk through all kinds of adversity believing in and experiencing Christ’s sufficiency. We have to choose to rest on God’s good promises despite what may be going on in our lives.
Thoroughfares to Thankfulness
Conviction - if you're a Christian reading this - read Acts. All of it. My best friend Cari and I have been reading it together for the past 17 days. Oh. My. Word! (no pun intended) I am amazed at what the early church did all because they felt a deep sense of holy spirit conviction. Conviction is owning it. Whatever it is. Conviction is living life on purpose. It's being so convinced that you are doing the right thing, heading in the right direction, on the right path that nothing, not even being stoned (Acts 14), can stop you from forging ahead. Conviction is bold. Conviction does not do conformity. When you live a life of conviction there is a passion that exudes from you and it's contagious. One word of caution here - when you live, behave, and work from this head and heart state, be prepared for massive transformation. The good kind and gratitude is included in it.
Commitment - There's a saying I used to say to teams I led or taught or employed: "Don't be involved, be committed. The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.” Would you die for your purpose? The pig did. Jesus did. My two oldest daughters teach me this every single day.
In August 2018, my middle daughter Matalyn started a workout program. She stuck to it religiously. That inspired my oldest daughter Abigayle to get on board. Long story short - this past summer they teamed up to start their own workout business and are so committed to their health, fitness and followers. Their involvement birthed a commitment and their lives and health have transformed immensely. (no they haven't died from it but I have done some on these workouts and I almost did....kidding, the workouts are fabulous!) Check them out here: https://www.instagram.com/abbnmat_fit/
I would love a huge, beautiful, gorgeous closet, but, I find such joy in my two teeny tiny closets that I get to dig through to find my favorite, fabulous outfits. It's a scavenger hunt every day and at least two days a week, I find something I forgot I had so it's like shopping without the monetary investment! Love!
I work very hard every day in my career to attain the next level and to keep the confidence of my boss. But, I am so happy where I am, serving my clients and exceeding quota expectations, and having incredible work/life balance. Peace!
I dream of a fabulous home in Florida to visit or retire to, but all my chicks are here in the nest (or very close to it) and that is such a blessing. Joy!
I cannot wait to meet my future husband, but as a single woman, I am overwhelmed every minute of every day of how beautiful my life is and how deeply it is filled with love. My circle is teeny tiny, but man, is it strong. Blessed!
When you learn to be content with what you have, where you are, who you're with, who you are, with your life...everything changes. You start to live courageously. BIG TIP: stop reading right now and make a list of three things you need or life is over....anyone? Yeah, you have everything you need right now.
Contentment is not a lack of ambition. It's not a lack of goals. Contentment means your happiness does not depend on your circumstances and you don't need more to be happy. Contentment is in direct correlation and proportion to gratitude. Master this one, and the road to thankfulness is super short.
Detours to Discontent
Complacency - being content does not mean you become complacent. Complacency is the disinterest in working to make things better. It's living a lukewarm life. It's indifference and an attitude of frequently saying "I don't know" or "I don't care". It's addressed in Revelation: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. Revelation 3:15-16
Whoa! Enough said about complacency. Right? One more thing, some have pondered why Jesus would rather have cold. This is explained by realizing that the only thing God hates more than lack of faith is hypocritical faith. Inconsistency of conviction is more damaging and irretrievable than the wrong conviction. (Bible Study Tools)
Caution - I am not talking about being unwise and careless here. The bible has plenty to say about being cautious and why we should be wise, but what I am talking about is living fearful. The bible commands us "Do not fear" 365 times. Daily we are commanded to trust God and proceed fearlessly. Living with so much caution, like the third man in the parable of the talents, does not lead to a life of gratitude. Living cautiously to the point of not using our God given gifts is a waste of what God has blessed us with and leaves us feeling worried, frustrated and scared to lose. That's scarcity mentality and it won't lead to living life to the full as Jesus came to give us.
Comparison - the fastest way to discontent? Comparison. We compare everything in this country — lawns, cars, husbands and wives, careers, clothes, Instagram pages, the education of our kids (we even put "My kid was Student of the Month" on car bumpers). Comparison is a distraction. Comparison is a thief. It steals your time, energy, focus & joy. Whenever you compare, you're going to become discontent . Let's just use this blog for example. I'm not Lysa TerKeurst, Christine Caine, Beth Moore or Joyce Meyers.....but there was a time in their ministries that they weren't either. My story is my story and God has called me, made me and equipped me at this time, for this time to be Ami Dean. Stop comparing yourself to others and stop deriving your self worth from things that don't last, like blog followings, houses that can burn down or achievements that are forgotten.
I've only done a surface level skimming of these six C words. I hope that I may have shed a different perspective on how to get to gratitude, and how to eliminate indifference. Gratitude makes you happier. You can take my word for it, or....you could peruse the 198,000,000 search results on google...seriously y'all, it grew by 15,000,000 during the time I wrote this....here's to 198,000,001!
I am grateful, thankful and so truly honored you read and share my words. A blessed, joy filled and most glorious Thanksgiving to you and all you hold dear.