A Grateful Heart
It’s been an exciting, and busy, fall. Mack and I spoke on leadership in Arizona for a big conference and then close to home in Georgia for a large workforce development/HR group. We drove to Atlanta one evening to teach leadership to a non-profit group that serves underprivileged youth. We spoke at several conferences in Atlanta on Change, Communication, and leadership. And, we are planning an awesome workshop in January on leadership and communication.
However, if you read my last blog, you know it’s also been an emotionally difficult time for me the past few weeks. Some days are easier than others, for sure.
And, in the middle of this emotional roller coaster ride, I’ve been working on a new book. I have wanted to get this project going for some time. It was inspired by a list of character traits I wrote down around age 11 or 12 about my personal vision statement for myself. Forgive the handwriting, but it’s one of the few things I have from when I was growing up and I still value these same traits today:
I haven’t always been able to live up to all of these goals I set for myself so long ago, but I’m always striving to improve. And, so, somewhere the idea of an inspirational, daily devotional series for women was born. It’s been on my heart for a while, and this fall seemed like the perfect time to write the first one. The topic was a natural selection – gratitude – because I believe gratitude is a key to having abundance in life.
Yes, I see the irony on working on a book about gratitude during a time of life when I’m really challenged to remain positive. I see the funny side of working on an inspirational book when I don’t always feel very inspired!
But, you know what? The more I focused on writing about gratitude, thankfulness, and thanksgiving, the easier I found to apply it in my own life. I spent the majority of yesterday editing, and realized that I did not expect writing this book to change me – but it did.
As I found myself thinking more and more about what I have to be grateful for, I realized that I couldn’t remain “down” for very long when I was focusing on being thankful.
As I wrote about applying gratitude in life and being thankful, I found my own perspective changed.
The benefits of practicing gratitude are proven scientifically. As I read and prepared for this book, I was astounded by all the studies that show how gratitude helps you: live longer, decrease stress, build better relationships, become more resilient, become less self-centered, become kinder, be healthier, sleep better, increase productivity, better achieve goals, become less materialistic, become more optimistic, become more spiritual, and have better self-esteem.
It sounds like an ad for a wonder drug. And yet, you don’t need a prescription to get it, and it costs nothing. It’s available to all of us.
“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.” ~ Neal A. Maxwell
Gratitude and thankfulness is powerful, and I’m reminded of that even more so during this season of my life. So, I’ll be putting the final touches on “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: A Grateful Heart” this week. This book is more than a book. It’s a 30-day gratitude journey that will help you live more fully into the life God gave you. A final round of edits, and pre-ordered books will be shipped out before December, maybe even before Thanksgiving. Let me be clear – it’s not the book that will change you. It’s the process. The power isn’t in the words. The power is in your heart and the heartfelt feelings you bring to God.
As we enter into a season of thanksgiving, I am reminded that gratitude is key to walking in a more intimate relationship with God each day. A grateful heart helps us find our identity in Him. As you feel the pressure, stress, and “busyness” of the holidays start to creep up on you, don’t forget to take time to be grateful. In the words of Henry Van Dyke, “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”