Gratitude

2019 mood is ____________.

Throw some suggestions at me.  We are 16 days in what is the general mood so far?  What is the tone on campus?

Daniel Goleman author of Emotional Intelligence suggests that leaders transmit their mood to those around them.  You are all leaders here tonight.  Whether you feel like one or not, someone is looking at your life and taking it in.  You may influence a younger sister or brother, a fellow teammate all of us here tonight have a circle of influence that is uniquely ours.

Let no one leave your presence without being a more grateful human.

How do you strengthen or how do you condition a positive a grateful attitude?  That’s what I want to tackle this evening.

You may need a small group of friends, team camaraderie, or even a single fellow athlete’s to help monitor your attitude, to remind you God can do anything.  We must have a grateful outlook for 2019.   And sometimes you need accountability and at other times you just need encouragement.

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer

Expose the lie of if only I had more than I’d be grateful.  More time.  More talent.  More money.  More support.  More Success.

Francis Schaffer has a truth that hits hard.  Excess, there is no real joy in it.

More doesn’t empower or enable you to be grateful now.  And you and I need gratitude now.

Gratitude is a gateway to joy.

Gratitude will help you identify God’s activity around you.  You are able to rejoice that God takes notice of you.  He is a God who sees you struggle as He saw Jacob’s struggle.  Wages changed, a battle against lies and deceit.  Real struggle with his father-in-law and boss, Laban and God literally says to him “for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you.”  Gratitude enables you to understand God is working around you even in the midst of your battle or struggle.

Gratitude increases your goodwill towards others.  Studies have shown people who express regular gratitude are able to offer their friends more encouragement and support.

The Journal of Research In Personality Volume 42 Issue 4 found over all gratitude directly fosters social support, protects from stress and depression.

The physical benefits of gratitude increase with the regularity of your gratitude.  People who practice daily gratitude have the lowest depression rates.  Those who practiced weekly have lower depression rates than those who don’t practice gratitude at all.  What is your mood in 2019?

What is the opportunity life is handing you at this moment?  Joy is the gratitude you feel for that opportunity.  Live daily aware of the absolute honor it is to pursue your dreams.

One of America’s Presidents said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

We are citizens of an incredible kingdom.  Greater than America.

 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful,  Hebrews 12:28a

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude.  However if there is something in your life that is hindering your gratitude attitude then throw it out.

The material world is created by God and is good.  Eating is good.  Getting into that state of flow mid workout mid hike when the endorphins kick in is good.

Tonight I’m overflowing with gratitude for health.  Gratitude for the gift of life.  Gratitude for world and the ability to travel it.  Gratitude for the meals I’ve shared with friends and family.

Paul in the intro to Romans and many other books in the New Testament begins with First, I offer thanksgiving to God for you all, or for God’s grace, or for the gospel.  He knew distinctly what Psalm 100 was aiming us towards by declaring we enter God’s courts (not his basketball courts or his volleyball courts but sure offer thanks there too) but rather his presence with thanksgiving.  It’s like walking into his house, smelling what is in the kitchen seeing the massive table he has prepared the huge gathering room and realizing you are welcome here and he is happy you are home.  Gratitude opens this reality.

Gratitude must be real.  So for you it may be that your phone didn’t die at a key moment.  Or that car repair was under 100$.

What if you are stumped and you need someone to throw you a rope and pull you out of the mood you’ve been in?  I have an interactive drill for us tonight.

Pause right where you are and notice what your physical body is telling you.  Is there an injury or pain? Do you feel alive and strong? I hope you feel alive haha. On a spectrum of light to dark notice where you are at.  Where are your emotions at?

Now recall a moment, a screenshot from your life.  It could be an interaction with a teammate, a coach, a personal best, a hike, a moment of exhilaration, a moment of the feels on a hot date,  a time when you just didn’t care what others thought and you were laughing uncontrollably.

Recall that moment fully.  Relive the joy and vitality you felt.  Dive into the details.

Offer thanks for the screenshot.  Offer thanks for life you live.  Feel the gratitude for that event in your life.

Now turn and tell the person next to you.

Ok all finished? Can you feel a shift?  Do this more! Make this a part of your daily or weekly conversation.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

How do you get to a place of overflowing gratitude?

  1. What is your capacity for gratefulness?  Maximum number of things you are currently thankful for?
  2. Increase your daily thank you.  Someone offers you a ride.  Someone holds a door.  Someone buys you coffee.  Someone calls to tell you they will be running late.  Hey THANKS for letting me know.
  3. Intensity and duration of gratitude.  My son’s medical treatment and care that saved his life at age 5.  These are the big moments that stay with you.  I recall I was deeply grateful to God and to those who serve in the medical field as first responders, life flight crews, Harbor View Medical Center, Children’s Hospital staff and nurses, and anyone who supported those responders going to work that day.  Who are the people who are deserving of your gratitude? Another massive one is God’s forgiveness of all your sin and shame.  While we were sinners Christ died for us. Yeah thank you Lord.  Past, present, and future sin covered by the blood of Christ.  His perfect gift of life for all.
  4. Belief in God gives you a greater number of things to be thankful for.  A robust belief rather than random chance fuels your mental outlook.  So when something extra good happens, that supreme burrito made just perfect, your personal best in your field of sport, the temperature or weather on the day of your wedding all become events to be grateful for.  But beyond that they are evidences in your life of a good God, personalizing your story with the fullness of his goodness and favor.  The Jesuit Poet Gerald Marley Hopkins “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”

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