Cam Taylor

Be inspired. Be focused. Be tenacious.

Gratitude’s Pathway

There is an activity that improves health, enriches relationships, creates peace in the soul, causes greater contentment, and improves the quality of sleep. It’s an activity that is easy yet can become swallowed by life and circumstances.

The activity is the act of expressing gratitude. I came to realize lately how it was way too scarce in my life which prompted me to find the pathway to gratitude which I share with you here.

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

1. The Problem

What kept gratitude from flourishing in my life was plain and simple: resentment. I was grumpy, dissatisfied, and anxious. I was ticked off at God and not at all pleased with where I was at in life compared to where I thought I “should” be by now. This lack of gratitude was sapping my soul of joy, peace and contentment.

Henri Nouwen hits the nail on the head in his definition: “Resentment is the complaint that life does not unfold the way we planned; that our many goals and projects are constantly interrupted by ‘events’ – so we choose to become passive victims of random incidents and happenstance.”

The trigger event was when a friend of mine (my pastor) asked me to speak in church (which I enjoy doing) but after saying yes, I felt anxiety, stress, and resentment. It wasn’t the request that caused the resentment, but anger at God for the other areas of my life that weren’t on track with my plan or agenda. I desperately needed the prescription to deal with this problem that was staring me in the face.

“Resentment is the curse of the faithful, the virtuous, the obedient, and the hardworking.” — Henri Nouwen

2. The Prescription

The way forward was to acknowledge my resentment, let it go, and fire up my gratitude muscle. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it this way,

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

The word for thanks in Greek is “eucharistia” from which comes the word “Eucharist” (the Lord’s Supper or Communion). For the Christian, the Eucharist is when we say thanks to God for what Jesus did on the cross. “Eucharistia” means “to show favor for what is good; to be thankful or full of thanks or praise.” “Eu” means good and “charis” means grace or favor.

Gratitude is the act or behavior of showing favor to others! It is not a feeling – it’s a behavior. It’s something you schedule and express.

3. The Payoff

Gratitude pays off in multiple areas of your life. Here are just a few.

  • Health – reduces depression; improves quality of sleep; increases your energy; makes you physically feel better; if you’re grateful, you’re more likely to exercise.
  • Relationships – your marriage will work better – saying thanks opens your eyes to see the positive instead of the negative qualities; You’ll be more likeable since no one likes being around a negative person.
  • Career – 65% of workers do not receive positive recognition in the work place – it’s a proven fact that specific words of appreciation boost workplace productivity.
  • Spiritual life – you have more joy, are able to handle stress, and experience peace that makes no sense logically.
  • Contentment – gratitude reduced your need to spend money to satisfy your cravings for happiness that you think comes from having more.

Moving gratitude into action

  1. Let hardness go – own your resentment then let it go. It may be shocking at first – especially if you think you’re arrived already, but you’re feel relieved eventually. Invite God to be part of that chipping away process.
  2. Let gratitude grow – schedule it and express it. Use a gratitude journal. Play the gratitude alphabet game — go from A to Z and express all the things you’re thankful for.
  3. Let others know – share gratitude where ever you go. Appreciate others verbally and in writing. You’ll feel better and impact those around you.

Is anything in the way of your gratitude?
How will you practice gratitude today?

About Cam Taylor

Life and leadership coach, transition & change specialist, husband, dad, leader, writer, life long learner.

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