A Simple Strategy For A Grateful & Happy Life

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

Two old friends met each other on the street one day.  One looked forlorn, almost on the verge of tears.  His friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?”

The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you:  three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars.”

“That’s a lot of money.”

“But you see, two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died, and left me eighty-five thousand dollars, free and clear.”

“Sounds to me that you’ve been very blessed.”

 “You don’t understand!” he interrupted.  “Last week my great-aunt passed away.  I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her.”

Now the man’s friend was really confused.  “Then, why do you look so glum?”

“This week . . . nothing!

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Being thankful for all things is a real challenge. This month I’m encouraging all of us (myself included!) to become more thankful and thus happier. 

Having an intentional strategy for this grateful journey helps us. Here it is: 

1. Be thankful for what is “normally” good in your life right now. 

2. Be thankful for what is extraordinarily good in your life. 

3. Be thankful for what seems “neutral” in your life. 

4. Be thankful for what seems “bad” in your life. 

This week, focus on being thankful for what is normal in your life. In other words, begin with what is “doable.” 

This week say “Thank you” for the good in your life. It’s so easy to become preoccupied by what seems bad – lousy salary, noisy neighbors, insensitive spouse, unresponsive children, crappy weather.

Yet, you are surrounded by so much that is good – you do have a job, many neighbors are gracious, your spouse loves you, your children are alive, right now the weather is above average.

What are some normal things for which you can be thankful? Air. Water. Refrigeration. Sunshine. Birds. Light. Eyes. Legs. Ears. Beating heart. Food. Clouds. Trees. Color. Time. Books. Chairs. Friends. Car. Health. Money. Job. Breeze. Electricity. Beauty.  

Focusing on what is normal around you and saying “thank you” for it creates the habit of thankfulness. The habit helps shape your heart. From your heart will come the ability to be thankful for all things whether “good” or “bad.”

But begin where you can. Say thank you for what is “normal,” routine, natural, regular, commonplace, good.  

What does your list of the “ordinary” include? 

Dr. K