Practicing the Attitude of Gratitude

Several years ago, at the encouragement of a friend, I started carrying a gratitude rock in my pocket. It’s really just a small, smooth stone that I picked up from the fish pond behind our house. I carry it with me where ever I go.

A Stone in a Hand - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jaminwell, Image #12120864

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jaminwell

The idea is simple. Whenever my hand contacts the stone–usually several times a day–I give thanks for whatever is happening at that moment, whether good or bad.

It is amazing how this simple act changes my perspective and, ultimately, my attitude. Instead of seeing the glass half-empty, I see it half-full. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I focus on what I do have–right now.

Someone once wisely told me, “You won’t get what you don’t have until you learn to be grateful for what you do have.” I think that is so true. We so often focus on our lack–what’s missing.

For example, we complain about our lack of a vibrant, real relationship with God. We wish our church were bigger–or smaller. We wish we had a spouse. Or perhaps we wish we didn’t have a spouse. Or maybe we want to change our spouse.

Or we wish we could get a different job, a different boss, or a bigger paycheck. We wish we had more interesting work, more sensitive coworkers, or different hours.

We wish we could live in a different city, a different part of the city, or a different house. We complain about our furniture, our car, and all our other stuff.

To state the obvious, this is not healthy. And do we really think this complaining spirit will lead to better relationships or more abundance?

I’ve always given thanks when I pray, but often it’s just perfunctory. Now, I am trying to give thanks more deliberately. The gratitude rock is one tool that is helping me.

Let me challenge you to push the pause button and write down twenty items you are thankful for right now. Here’s my list:

My Gratitude List

  1. My relationship with God
  2. His constant presence with me and blessings in my life
  3. My relationship with Gail
  4. Thirty-three years of marriage
  5. Gail’s constant support and encouragement
  6. Gail’s wisdom and timing
  7. Gail’s incredible parenting skills
  8. Gail’s sense of humor and her incredible servant’s heart
  9. Our home and the joy of sharing it with others
  10. My daughters and sons-in-law and the varieties of their personalities
  11. Their love for Gail and for me
  12. My grandchildren, who always make me smile
  13. The joy of laughing with Gail and the family
  14. The little town of Franklin and the fun of being able to walk to almost everything
  15. This new season of my life, where I am living my dream of speaking and writing
  16. The fact that I have enough to eat today
  17. Dark chocolate
  18. The fact that I am warm, dry, and comfortable
  19. The fact that I am healthy and able to exercise regularly
  20. My church and the the people I have worshipped with for twenty-seven years
What’s on your list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Tina Caldwell

    What an excellent piece…..