A few years ago I saw the word “thanksliving” rather then the more familiar term “thanksgiving”. It was a great reminder that giving thanks is a way of life and not just something we do once a year. Yesterday in my message I talked about the “ABC’s of Gratitude” and shared three very practical ways in which we can practice gratitude this week. When we practice gratitude, it engages and touches our hearts in such a way that we find that we become increasingly thankful and grateful throughout our day.
A beginning step and practice we can engage in is to express appreciation to people in our lives. This is the first step in the “ABC’s” of practicing gratitude. Expressing appreciation is a way of acknowledging someone else’s value and the value of what they offer. When we fail to appreciate people in our lives, we end up diminishing their value and existence. We may not do that intentionally but our silence often speaks louder than mere words. When we express appreciation, we find that we intentionally look for the good in others. This often helps us see life in a different way because we sometimes look for the negative in others or where we might disagree with them. Expressing appreciation helps us see others in a different light.
In his book, The Power of Appreciation, author Adrian Van Kaam writes: “The word ‘appreciative’ suggests a bent toward that which one finds precious and worth pursuing. It points to a way of directing our thoughts and feelings in a meaningful manner any time we are faced with a difficult person or event.” Who in your life might need to hear a word of appreciation?
- Your spouse or your child
- A co-worker
- A neighbor
- A lonely elderly person
- The checkout person at the grocery store
- The person who delivers your mail
- Someone you have had to have a difficult conversation with but they were willing to engage you in conversation
- A volunteer in your church
Create your own list. Think creatively as to how you could express appreciation. People still love to get notes and cards. Sometimes a very personal gift is the perfect touch. However you choose to do it, let someone know you appreciate them. Again, Adrian Van Kaam writes:
“We are born to be appreciated and to become appreciative. We only need to flow with the grace of gratitude.”
Begin flowing with the grace of gratitude. Appreciate someone today.