For the next 5 weeks, all three HCF campuses are tackling this issue of gratitude. All of us will be experiencing more of what it truly means to be grateful–and, no doubt, be challenged–during this series. Learning how to practically cultivate a thankful heart in the midst of everyday “life” is going to be a game-changer for all of us. (Don’t forget to post what you are thankful for at http://www.harvestchristianfellowship.org/gratitude)
As the women of Harvest, let’s take time to really dig deep into this. What does it look like to cultivate gratitude in our hearts?
One book that has been life-changing for so many people in this area of gratitude is Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts (you can also check it out under the Bookshelf tab above). In this book, she talks about taking the time to write down things that she is grateful for. Sometimes these seem like small, insignificant things. But it still grows in us a heart of gratitude. Writing down the things that we’re thankful for somehow writes thankfulness on our hearts as well.
Some of you may already keep some kind of “gratitude journal” from our Women’s Retreat last year. Or you can keep a running list in the “Notes” section of your phone. There is also now a free 1,000 Gifts App for smart phones, that allows you to take and download pictures of the things you are thankful for (if you are more of a visual person).
Ask God what cultivating gratitude looks like for you. Learning to be grateful is not a formula. It is not a list of steps. It is not instantaneous. But it is necessary if we want to learn to live an abundant life.
So what does it mean to cultivate gratitude in our hearts? Let’s review:
Cultivate = to prepare; to prepare and use (for growing plants); to grow and care for
As we cultivate gratitude in our hearts, we are preparing our hearts to receive revelation from the Lord. (if you were at the Women’s Retreat, this should sound familiar!) Sometimes that means weeding and tilling and compost. It’s hard work. It gets messy. But the results are worth it.
In Tammy Maltby’s book Lifegiving, she writes this:
“As in all successful gardens, lifegiving begins with the soil of our lives. Having good soil means we have the nutrients within our own souls to provide adequate support for lifegiving. In adding these proper nutrients to the soil, we give the seed the best chance for growth. This garden becomes a place where others can put down roots that will help them absorb the lifegiving elements so vital for healthy development” (p. 36).
Let’s ask God during these next several weeks to soften the soil of our hearts, so that we can sense His Spirit in our lives and respond with gratitude.
**What are some of the ways YOU will commit to cultivating gratitude in your life this week?