Freerange Friday: New Month, New Practice : Gratitude
By Lilly Lewin
So it’s here! A new month, a new beginning! I love starting a new month with a clean calendar. It’s a fresh start for everything. For some it’s the start of the rhythm of the new school year, for others it’s just a new month. And for some of us it’s hard to turn the calendar page because we find ourselves somewhere back in June or July.
Since we are starting a new month, we are transitioning our theme at Godspace from Shalom to the new theme of “Let Hate Become Love”
For me, this is really all about living out the shalom of God in my real life, not just on paper or online.
Let Hate Become Love.
What helps me move from hate to love?
Thankfulness and a grateful heart.
Gratefulness and thankfulness help us experience the shalom of God and when we see all the gifts God is giving to us we are able to give love and peace away to others. I believe Gratitude is a spiritual practice. It takes time and effort to focus on thankfulness when you are having a bad day or when tragedy and suffering are all around, or when the kids are fighting and there is laundry and dishes to be done and the to -do list feels unending. It is really hard to practice thankfulness and gratitude when everyone around you seems to be whining and complaining and you’re ready to join in!
So let’s start practicing. I always say to my family and friends, baby steps!
Grateful Prayer Practices for the weeks ahead.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the people in Texas who are suffering and will be recovering from Hurricane Harvey for months and even years to come. And this led me to some grateful prayer practices:
WATER: When you wash your hands
Take a shower
Wash your clothes
Be thankful for running water.
Thank you God for running water, for both hot and cold running water, for this gift.
As you do the laundry or dishes,
Pray for those who are without running water in the areas flooded by Hurricanes and Typhoons. Or just because they have no access.
Pray for those people around the world who have to walk miles to fill jugs each day
in order to have water for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
ELECTRICITY: As you open the fridge, run the dishwasher, plug in your phone,
Use the computer, Express your thankfulness for electricity
And technology that works.
Thank you God for the resource of electricity.
Help me to remember that it is a gift.
God help me to remember that my complaints about my phone, or lack of a charger, or when the cable goes out are so “first world” and help me to put the whining away and be thankful instead.
Pray for the work crews in areas of crisis, like southeastern Texas, who are rebuilding infrastructure and working on getting power back to homes and businesses.
Pray for people in areas of crisis and those without access to electricity.
As you plug in your phone or computer to charge them, pray for Refugees around the world who are seeking life’s basics.
As you eat a meal, take time to savor the food.
Take time to truly be thankful for the people who grew it,
the people who cooked it (even if it’s you!) and thankful to God for this provision.
When shopping this week, buy an extra item or two and donate it to your local food bank, or clean out your pantry and see if there are things you can donate. (check the expiration dates!)
Thank you God for my daily bread.
Today, stop. Take a deep breath.
Breathe in and out.
Ask God to fill you with peace and open your heart to thankfulness.
What do you hear around you?
As I pause to listen, as I write this, I can hear the rain on the roof and see the rain hitting the window.
We had the remnants of hurricane Harvey blow through Nashville last night with tornado warnings and flash flooding. Thankfully there wasn’t too much damage around town and none at our house.
Today I am thankful for the very necessary things of a dry house, electricity and coffee!
I’m going to use September as a month to practice thankfulness and gratitude for the things I take so easily for granted. And let love and thankfulness lead the way.
What are three things you are grateful for today?
PS…We are often good at responding to emergency situations and major disasters but not very good at responding to local on going concerns. Find out what’s needed at your local homeless shelter. New socks and underwear in various sizes ( including XXL) are always welcome! and don’t forget diapers!
And here are some practical ways to respond to Hurricane Harvey