Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Speaking Gratitude

Thankfulness is on our minds this month and it seems we try to slow down, look around and count our blessings.  While we work towards attitude of gratitude, it usually sets off a chain reaction. We identify a blessing, feel thankful for it and express our thanks to God.  

Truly, God deserves our praise and thanksgiving, but many of our blessings are people and they are all around us.  The old saying, "It's the thought that counts" isn't true. As long as the thought remains in your head, it accomplishes nothing. But when it motivates you to express gratitude to someone, it becomes fruitful and a shared blessing. 

Gratitude can be expressed in many languages. Every person in your life has a dominant gratitude language. Learning to speak those languages can improve your relationships at home, at work, and at church. In the process, you'll become a better communicator of the overflowing love of God.

Adapted from the 5 Love Languages, here are ways to express gratitude in different ways.

1. Words of Affirmation
There are many ways of expressing gratitude through words of affirmation: verbally. Whatever method you choose to use, words of affirmation are powerful expressions of gratitude. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21).  Speak life!

2. Giving Gifts
 For many, a gift speaks much more deeply than words. The gift is a constant reminder that they are loved and appreciated.

3. Acts of Service
The third language of gratitude is acts of service—doing something as an expression of gratitude. This language involves taking the skills God has given you and using them to speak appreciation to someone. It communicates, "I appreciate you, and I want to help you."
You may remember the old saying, "Actions speak louder than words." For some people this is true. They cherish acts of service as expressions of gratitude.

4. Undivided Attention
We all are busy. This is why spending time with someone whose gratitude language is undivided attention speaks volumes.  There are many ways this language of gratitude can be expressed, such as inviting a friend to your house for dessert or attending a ball game with a grandchild. The purpose is to communicate gratitude by taking time to get to know them better. You are giving a portion of your life to that individual. For many, this is the clearest language of gratitude.

5. Touch
Appropriate touches communicate care and appreciation. In our culture, these touches may be pats on the back, high fives, fist bumps, and appropriate hugs. For some, affirming physical touch is a powerful indicator that you appreciate them.

This November, let's make it a month to be thankful, but to allow that attitude to touch and bless those around us.  

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