Webster’s Dictionary defines gratitude as “a feeling of appreciation or thanks.” So if gratitude is feeling thanks, I suppose being grateful is expressing the thanks you feel.
Psychology Today states that gratitude has 7 scientifically proven benefits. Gratitude:
I think it all lies in EXPRESSING our gratitude. We can feel grateful, but if we don’t share what we feel, we won’t experience the true positive effects gratitude can afford us. In my own experience, I learned firsthand how gratitude can shape you. My father passed away a couple months ago, and I still struggle on a daily basis, but having friends and family around to love on me has lifted my spirits immeasurably. They have done simple tasks such as send me cards, encouraging text messages, bring me cookies, coffee, flowers, as well as help me with errands and menial tasks. What makes me grateful is not simply that they bought me something; rather, it’s that they made me feel special by helping carry my burden so I didn’t have to do it alone. Sometimes I would have an especially hard day but then would come home to a new card and flowers with just the words I needed to hear. I’m beyond grateful for my friendships. Letting people I love into this hard season of my life has led to healing. It has made my darkest days a little brighter. I wrote a couple thank you cards to express my gratitude, and actually writing the words was cathartic. It showed me that though I just had a horrible loss in my life, I have been blessed with wonderful friendships. Essentially not all is lost.
I often think of the verse, Philippians 1:3 “I thank my God every time I remember you.” Now when I remember my father, I’m not only sad, I’m also overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude.
Written by Alexa, a guest contributor
I met a guy named Rusty once. Rusty was the epitome of a desperate man. He was on his last string ready to give up on life. He was struggling and couldn't find answers anywhere but the bottle, and when he walked into the church late on a Wednesday night, he was ready to end it all.
You could see the desperation in his eyes. He was so ashamed and embarrassed. He was seeking help as a last chance effort. So I did my best. I got him in contact with someone that could help, and together we took Rusty to the hospital.
From there, I moved on. All I knew was that he detoxed at the hospital and they got him connected with a rehab facility in Missouri. Honestly, I was just glad he made it through the night.
Not a week later I saw Rusty again. I needed to pick him up at the bus station because he was coming home to get his car that he left at the church. He’d spent maybe 5-6 days at rehab in Missouri...
Sometimes the Glory of God is overwhelming. Sometimes God shakes us to the bone. Sometimes all you can do is smile because of how great God is. Words simply do not work.
When I saw Rusty the second time, it could not have been a more opposite situation. Transformation at its best! Rusty was radiating with joy. It was contagious and amazing. He sounded like a man who had sat with God for 5-6 days.
In the days after meeting this new Rusty, I remember feeling jealous of how desperate he was because in his weakness and humility he truly found Christ. In such a desperate place, he gave all of himself to God.
But the truth is, I really am as desperate for God as Rusty. I may not realize it most days or want to admit it, but just as much as Rusty needed the power of God to work in him, so do I need God’s power to work miracles in me.
Written by Mark
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.