Maintaining an attitude of gratefulness?
That can be a challenge for anyone.
I noticed a greater need for an attitude adjustment in my own life after we began homesteading.
When we learn to live off the land, it puts a different slant on life in general and causes one to realize how little control we really have. We're at the constant mercy of weather and other laws of nature — and if we allow it, these can all cause intense frustration and discouragement to creep in.
Here are four ways in which I'm working to maintain an attitude of gratitude during this Thanksgiving season.
1. Learn to live in the present.
We can’t change our past, and we don’t know what the future holds.
The present moment is all we have.
From time to time throughout the day, I make a point to stop and focus on that single moment, finding one small treasure to enjoy, even if it's only the sunshine. I accomplish this by simply stopping, taking a breath, and glancing around me.
This practice also helps me remember to take life at a much slower, less stressful pace.
2. Be grateful for the little things.
This flows naturally from learning to live in the present.
Often we compare ourselves to our neighbors, constantly looking to see what someone else has that we don't.
A contented life can be achieved by taking notice of the little things we usually overlook: sunsets, a flock of geese flying south, homemade bread, a cup of tea, moments spent with a loved one.
My favorite time of day is first thing in the morning — my “feeding time”.
I love the sun rising through the trees across the road, the mist lifting off the pond, the dew on the barbed wire fence. I love the sound of the chickens anxious to leave their coop, and the way they quiet down to busily eat their breakfast.
It is a time made up of those “little things” that I have learned to savor and look forward to each day.
3. Keep a gratefulness journal.
In her book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp describes the practice of committing to paper these daily moments, these gifts of little things.
This practice helps us to focus on the present, being watchful and attentive for these treasures as they arise. Writing them down not only helps us to remember them, but provides a tangible record of blessings that we can return to when we need encouragement.
A gratefulness journal can be as simple as a spiral-bound notebook with a ballpoint pen.
4. Accept that hardships are a part of life.
Just as every good cake needs bitterness in order to taste right, so a life well-lived is not without its difficulties.
Raising a garden that won’t grow, caring for chickens that tend to be fragile, coping with winter ice, flood waters, and damaging winds have all taught me that hardships are just part of life.
We should expect hardships, accept them with grace, and learn to roll with the punches.
Life isn't always easy, but we can always choose to be grateful, no matter what our circumstances.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV).
Is an attitude of gratitude something you struggle with as well? What are some ways that you work to keep an attitude of gratefulness?
We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. This post may contain special links through which we earn a small commission if you make a purchase (though your price is the same).