It’s officially been one week since I hosted The 3rd Refill with the nonprofit I direct, The Colorfully Candid Paradigm, Inc, and I’ve had an amazing week, unlike any other! Sure, I’ve rested. After all, putting together a three day retreat to California for forty-two girls and women is no small feat. But that’s not why it was good! It was good because the number one priority I had after our return was to show gratitude for the opportunity to encourage girls and women in Christ, model what it means to practice self care, and take a break from all of the demands that constantly direct our daily lives.
Gratitude is the feeling of being thankful and when we feel it, gratitude begins to take over our thoughts, our choices, and our actions. I woke up every day with a smile on my face because I could not wait to pray and say thank You to God. 2 Corinthians 9:15 tells us to, “Thank God for gifts too wonderful to name,” and it was all I wanted to do. There were some days I actually felt speechless, and that doesn’t happen easily to me. The gifts of the retreat location, the connections I saw forming, the sunrises I got to watch, the bonfires I got to roast marshmallows over, and the presence of God we experienced were too wonderful to name. I sang, danced, and laughed at the memories throughout my house and it transformed the way that I thought about other people and the ways I interacted with them as well. When everyone thought I should have been dragging around, claiming how tired I’d grown, I was actually bubbling over with excitement, giving hugs, and sharing smiles with those who needed encouragement.
In years past, I’ve underestimated the potential that gratitude has to change people. I was terrible at writing thank you notes when I was high school. I think I have a few thank you notes and phone calls to follow up on from my high school graduation even now. I didn’t understand the importance of it. I didn’t understand that it can do just as much for those showing gratitude as it can for those who took their own time to shower you with something special. Now that I understand it, I’ve been running from place to place to deliver these little notes and it has become my favorite hobby! At a time where I could have easily gotten caught up in resentment about who acknowledged my efforts and who ignored them, who celebrated with me or shunned me, who prayed with me or who talked about me, I found myself doing one thing: saying thank you and it brought amazing results. Need help thinking of ways to say thank you? Try one of the following to start with:
- Start a gratitude journal. Write down one thing you’re thankful for every day.
- Wake up and say thank you to our Creator for the little things, the things we take for granted, like health, family, friendships, and freedom.
- Text one persona a day to tell someone thank you when it comes to mind, regardless of how they’ve made you feel lately.
My favorite book tells us to focus on the things that are good, true, and pure, just to name a few, and when we do it transforms the way we see the world. Want to live your best life? Dare to focus on all the good parts and ignore the rest! When you do, let me know what it feels like!