The Dance of Gratitude

October 18, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Diane Mayfield –

I start planning for Thanksgiving dinner in August. I think about which kids I get to have home with us, if we are going to the Thanksgiving Day football game and what time the game is so I’ll know when to plan dinner. Last year we had dinner on Friday. This year I have a small group for Thanksgiving Day, so we are going to the Four Seasons Hotel for its fabulous lunch before the game. No cooking and cleaning for me this year. Woo Hoo!

Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, but it typically gets most of my attention. I don’t think about what I’m thankful for until the day of Thanksgiving. As Christians, the Bible says giving thanks is to be part of our every day existence. In fact, praise and thanksgiving is the posture we take to come to our Father. “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (NIV Philippians 4:6b).

For a year I faithfully wrote a gratitude journal. Then, for some reason, I quit. This day, I am thankful that I was reminded to start it up again.

I’ve been listening to The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown. She talks about foreboding joy, which is basically sabotaging those moments when we experience a little taste of heaven by projecting a future catastrophe. The antithesis to foreboding joy is gratitude. Now Brene is not writing from a Christian perspective, but the truth she presents is very biblical. She speaks of practicing gratitude and her suggestion is to start a gratitude journal. I believe God was nudging me back to my discipline of writing in my gratitude journal again.

So I started writing each morning. I’ve been doing it for a week now. As a result, I am more mindful throughout the day of the blessings that come my way. Here’s an example: My sister came into town at my request to help me with painting, cleaning and decluttering my Alzheimer diseased mom’s room at her assisted living facility. Those of you who have lived with and through this disease understand what I’m up against just saying those words. If you have not experience it, think about what it’s like to clean up a toddler’s room with the toddler present. Impossible!

After two days of working together and feeling very satisfied with our accomplishment, we sat in the car exhausted, looked at each other and said, “I’m so grateful we could do this together.” Truly, at that moment, gratitude ruled our hearts and not exhaustion.

I took it even further. For that moment, I believe the Sovereign God of the Universe knew I would need a sister to go through these times with me as the oldest in the family. We have a brother, too, but let’s face it, guys just don’t take care of elderly mothers in the same way women do. I for one feel so blessed to have my sister to go through this very difficult time with me. I am so grateful we have each other to lean on.

During this Thanksgiving season, I hope you will take some time from the meal planning to create your own gratitude journal. I have even set my phone to alert me every day at noon to stop and reflect on what I am grateful for in the moment. I know many of you have probably practiced this for years. I’m just now getting back to this dance of gratitude. Come join me if you have not started.

About Diane Mayfield

Diane, a follower of Jesus, has a Bachelor of Journalism Degree, a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialty in counseling and is a Certified Coach. Married for 35 years and after raising three children, she returns to one of her first loves-writing.
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