A good friend’s husband was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Together they went through two months of unknowns, hospitalization, and surgeries. Later, my friend reflected on that time and said, “Not once during those months was I afraid. I was so grateful for all the people who were helping in so many ways. And I found that I could not be grateful and fearful at the same time.”
Gratitude and its close cousin, joy, result from action, not just feeling. Active joyfulness brings with it an awareness of who we are and an acknowledgment that all we have are gifts from a generous, loving God. We search for signs of the good in the people and situations around us. We work to give up selfish perspectives and join more closely in the movements of God in the world.
Living from the perspective of gratitude and joy, our hearts remain open to the Spirit’s influence; we stay connected to God’s guidance. Being grateful for God’s good in our lives displaces our fears and dissatisfactions and replaces them with God’s presence.
Loving God, help me be the face of joy to someone who might be struggling today. If I am facing struggles of my own, gently guide my thoughts toward gratitude, that I may rejoice always in you. Amen.
Interested in more soul care resources for spiritual leaders? Subscribe to From the Center, a monthly email newsletter from The Upper Room curated specifically for clergy and church leadership.
Beth A. Richardson serves as the director of prayer and worship life and Dean of The Upper Room Chapel.
Adapted from The Uncluttered Heart. Copyright © 2009 by Upper Room Books.