A Simple Strategy For A Grateful & Happy Life

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!

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 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

10 thoughts on “A Simple Strategy For A Grateful & Happy Life

  1. It’s a LONG list!!! Being free enough to practice my faith openly. Firetrucks and ambulances and hospitals available to me. A healthy, loving, enjoyable marriage. Really neat kids! A house to keep up, even though I often don’t wanna. Health enough not to worry, healthy kids. The current scramble to clean for visiting friends!!!!

    • And yet you took time to comment! I hope your visit with friends went well. Can we be thankful for having to clean our house? I can relate to your struggle. Yes, the list is long. Blessings to you, Sandi, as you continue this grateful journey. Keith

      • OF COURSE! Visiting here is an extra shot of good stuff in my day! 🙂 And YES! I must detest dishes but often make myself thank God that I have them to do, because when the house is empty I won’t have to and already know that then I will miss it! LOL! Aren’t we so fickle?

        • Hi Sandi. You are so human :-). Turn these “destesting” tasks into times of prayer and see what happens. We all have these kinds of tasks. I think we have them to strengthen us as we struggle to find communion with God in the doing of them. Blessigs to you on the gratitude journey. Keith

  2. Thanks Pastor for these words of wisdom! How wonderful it is that Almighty God can even enable us to be thankful in the midst of dark trials!! His sovereign Will is perfect! Blessings to you and Rhonda!

    • Hello Tom. You know of what you speak. Your ability to be grateful as you journey in your trials is inspiring and difficult. My God’s grace sustain you as you see around you reasons to be thankful. Blessings to you, brother. Keith

  3. One of the primary elements of life is gratitude; the ability of heartfelt thankfulness to God. This too is God given. We always encourage those we minister to, to make the effort, each morning, before putting their feet on the floor, to begin the day thanking God for another day. On the surface, this seems easy, almost trivial, but in practice, it is not. The more I am thankful for, the more I have seen that there is nothing trivial in our relationship with God, the King of the universe, our Father, Abba (daddy).
    A friend once described his journey of thankfulness and gratitude as ending with him sitting on his Abba Father’s lap, hugging him, and feeling the security of God’s arms around envelope him.
    What a beautifully wonderful picture of love, of our Lord, and our God!
    The more we are gratefully thankful, the more we will find to be gratefully thankful for.
    Love you brother!

    • Thank you, John, for sharing your “thankful” thoughts. The simple practice of thanking God for another day is not so easy. Yet, thankfulness breeds thankfulness and true happiness. Blessings to you, brother. I thank God for you! Keith

  4. This is easy…most days.
    But, for this day, I am thankful for a vocation that I enjoy, food in the frig and in the cupboard, the spirea in full bloom, the bluebirds who set up housekeeping in our birdhouse this year, our faithful barn cat who for now has left the bluebirds to live, green grass, trees, safe drinking water, Cheerios, cashews, the internet, the computer in front of me, phones, encouraging quotes and books, my family, my grandkids, our church family, our good health, home brewed iced tea, dark chocolate almond milk, peanut butter, visits with long-time friends.
    So much more to be thankful for, but to type it all would consume the rest of our days.
    Thanks for listening, Keith.

    • Ah, Karen. You live a grateful life….allowing you to commune with God. I am grateful for your example and kind spirit. It is my pleasure to “listen.” Blessings to you! Keith

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