Doing Gratitude


Subscribe: Apple Podcast | CastboxSpotify | Podbean | RSS

Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
Doing Gratitude

As we enter the holiday seasons and the final portions of this year, most of us get pretty busy. Still, it’s essential to ask questions that matter most during these months of celebration. One question in particular often associated with Thanksgiving, affects life every day. What exactly is gratitude? Have you regularly asked yourself that question? I’ll throw in another question – “part B” to the first question. Are you “doing gratitude” each day?

What Exactly Is Gratitude?

Over the decades, I’ve asked myself – “what is gratitude?” Most often, exploring gratitude hasn’t even been at Thanksgiving for me. It’s been a lot more “every day” than that. After all, doing gratitude is a daily thing. And I’ve noticed three things about gratitude in recent years that I missed in younger years.

  1. Gratitude is like Runway Edge Lights (REL) at the airport. Those lights outline the edges of runways during periods of darkness or restricted visibility conditions. Did you know gratitude outlines the edges your life path and keeps you safely on the runway?
  2. Just like an airborne airplane, gratitude provides lift to your heart. It gives you perspective in problem-solving daily challenges. Did you know gratitude helps identify the real issues, best possible solutions, and best practices for your heart as you navigate each day?
  3. And gratitude is a flight plan that provides two critical elements needed for doing gratitude:
    • Worship – A deep reverence for God becomes your best platform for doing gratitude. It opens your soul to the incredible privilege of friendship with God.
    • Sincerity – A sincere heart can become a rich heart, but it must also be a practical heart. God loves when His children seek Him with all their heart.


There is SO much good connected to being thankful. So far – in summary, gratitude keeps you on the path, lifts your heart, and gives you a plan by connecting you sincerely and securely to God.

Doing Gratitude Grows Character

Gratitude is important to your personal character development. It also builds integrity and healthy life patterns. Thankfulness actually connects your soul to the world around you, to other people, nature, the arts and culture, and more. It also grows character you can hang your life on.

We already mentioned doing gratitude connects you securely to God who created you and loves you deeply. When you sincerely trust God, you find yourself thankful for His abiding love, His interventions, and His attention to details of your life. You see things you didn’t see before. And you notice stability forming in your relationship with God.

So, we can safely announce – doing gratitude grows character needed for an Alive and Active Life.

Doing Gratitude Is Learned

We spend all our lives learning and growing. Training never ends as you do life with God. So it’s natural to discover more about gratitude over the years and learn how to get rid of excess baggage.

Apparently, gratitude is one of the basic character qualities God wants for His children. He helps you become practiced in deeper thankfulness.

Let’s look at what the dictionary says about gratitude. The definition is: “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.” Synonyms for gratitude are: “thank, thankfulness, appreciation, gratefulness.” This definition “sticks” even in adverse situations!

So, that’s where we start. Choosing to be thankful. It’s a decision, not a feeling. As life progresses, a thankful heart cultivates a richer journey. Plus, the more you do something, the better you get at it. You become proficient. In fact, you find gratitude connects you to your own life – the person God created you to be.

What would it look like to get good at doing gratitude? What would change if you lived with a thankful heart even in difficult times?

My Definition Has Changed

I find myself defining gratitude a bit differently as years go by. In past seasons of life, I had always defined it as being thankful. There was a popular phrase – “have an attitude of gratitude.”

In recent years as I’ve continued learning and growing, I’ve discovered fresh, new depths to doing gratitude. These have enriched my life and increased my desire to be thankful. When I wake, the new day is a backdrop to explore choices of thankfulness to live an Alive and Active Life. I want to share specific points I figured out. But first, some ideas about a tracking list and a good cleaning.

Tracking List

A simple list of blessings reminds you there is so much to be thankful for. Right now, put pen to paper or dictate into your device the blessings present in your life. Include everything you can think of . . .  and see how long your list gets.

This list actually gives you a document you can use when your heart is hurting, when you have a bad attitude, when you feel lost and confused, and when you need healing, compassion, strength, and grace. Doing gratitude during difficult scenarios is hard. It involves resolve and discipline.

But as you practice being thankful during hard times, God does something deep inside you. He provides a protective force field around your soul. Then He gently exposes your spirit – where you are broken, hurting, wounded, needy. As you trust His promises, as you obey in all scenarios, and as you keep doing gratitude, He heals, strengthens, and polishes your spirit. This polishing brings a credibility and brilliance to your life story.

Polishing Gems; Polishing Your Life

When you polish a precious gem in hard to reach places (ring, necklace, tie clip, bracelet, cuff links, etc.), grime must be cleaned from around cuts and mountings – and even from the back side of the mounting. After the polishing, the jewel “pops” and sparkles more. After that deep cleaning, the gem reflects light more brilliantly.

When you let God polish your heart in hard to reach places – yes, even the back side – God can remove the dingy film from your soul as you live in a sinful world. He can fix the broken, ease the hurting, and heal the wounds. But couch your request with gratitude.

Gen. 50:20 says, “You intended it to harm me, but God intended it for good.”  Terrible things intended for evil can showcase God’s grace as you trust Him to intervene in your problems and as you let Him polish your life.

What If You Can’t Find Gratitude

If you can’t find your gratitude, simply come to God and ask Him to help. Don’t be afraid. God loves you deeply! Resolve to believe His Word. Obey in all things. Rejoice even in hardships. Start doing gratitude. This rolls out a new cycle of an Alive and Active Life. Intervention and polishing follow.

God knows what’s inside you – your past, your current difficulties and losses. But He also knows your future. Jesus promises to never leave or forsake you. He promises healing, strength, wisdom, deliverance. That’s His part.

What’s your part? “Do not be afraid. Do not be terrified.” (Deut. 31:6) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your [issues] remember God who can do something about them . . . and He will direct your path.” (my interpretation of Prov. 3:5-6)

God Helps

As you trust and obey, God is honored. As you practice His presence, He knits Himself into you so you cannot unravel the two of you. Sincere thankfulness gives you a secure, rich, and practical heart.

As you train to be more appreciative, God’s character literally forms in you. A joy sparkle shows up in your heart – the glow of His polishing. 

Application Questions and Points

A couple of questions – then ten points to help.

  • Why not go into these holiday months doing gratitude?
  • Why not make gratitude be an every day thing going forward?
  • Are you letting gratitude keep you on God’s path, lift your heart, and give a daily plan to live an Alive and Active Life?


Ten Points to Help

  1. Thankfulness is enhanced under pressure of suffering and trials. Are you responding to stress with gratitude?
  2. Gratitude sparkles with a good cleaning, especially in hard-to-reach areas. Do you submit to a good daily cleaning?
  3. It’s a process of discovery to be the rich person God designed. Are you daily discovering who you are in Christ?
  4. God loves you and wants to train you in His character. How badly do you want to be like Jesus?
  5. A thankful heart takes you into meaningful worship. What is your worship life like?
  6. Consent brings reward; refusal brings serious consequences. Do you spend more time consenting or refusing?
  7. “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13) What/Who are you seeking?
  8. God’s Word is filled with doing gratitude training. Are you signed up for the training?
  9. Attitude affects doing gratitude. What kinds of attitudes do you have each day?
  10. Gratitude transforms you to be like Jesus. Want to be transformed? You can be!


Start doing gratitude sincerely from your heart.


Visit our website for articles, podcasts, shareable images. Sign up and have articles come right to you. Select Alive and Active Life on your favorite podcast app. Check out our excellent books and tools that help your daily Bible Study. Make your devotional time Alive and Active!

Email Sign Up Gift

Connect with Us!

SIGN UP for helpful content to live an Alive and Active Life each day.  Subscribe to our podcast with your favorite app.


* indicates required

One Size For Everybody

Remember when the pandemic was in full swing? Everybody was buying masks and medical gloves. Well, I found some medical gloves for a great price. So I ordered. When they came, I checked the box front. Sure enough – one size fits all. Not true! Those gloves were big enough to fit a professional basketball player who can “palm” the ball! So, I was stuck with these huge gloves. Incidentally, there was so much room in each glove finger, I could have packed snacks in there. So much for one size for everybody!

Still – there IS a “one size for everybody.’ It’s amazing! Let’s explore together . . . Read More …

Read More »

How To Live With Hope – Scripture Dissection

You know the story from Lord of the Rings. Beautiful Arwen loves Aragorn. However, Aragorn left to protect Frodo on his quest. Incidentally, he’ll end up fighting a war. Unfortunately, He may never return. As a result, Arwen is overcome. And she lingers in middle earth rather than join her kin to travel to their forever home. Having remained, she has a conversation with her elf-father. Interestingly, Arwen clings to hope. And she wants to know how to live in hope. Here is the excerpt: Read More …

Read More »

We Have Hope!

Easter week is here! Celebrations! Joyful traditions, activities, and food! Subsequently, the simple reality of this wonderful holiday is – We have hope! We have Jesus!

Join me with a fresh look at our hope in Jesus Christ!

After we explore hope in today’s content – I’ll share a wonderful opportunity to help you prepare your heart for Easter.

But now, let’s dig into the hope we have . . . Read More …

Read More »

Behind The Scenes – An Interview With The Producers

We’re going to do something different this week – an interview with the producers to explore behind the scenes of Alive and Active Life articles and podcast. Actually, we’ve been publishing for 14 years and broadcasting for 5 years. But we’ll specifically cover podcast information. WHY do we do this?

Let’s jump into this interview with the producers of Alive and Active Life. Read More …

Read More »

The Fifth King – Scripture Dissection

You’ve heard the saying – “I feel like a fifth wheel.” Really – a fifth wheel is not much good . . . unless you’re driving a big rig – and then you need 18 wheels – all in good shape. Today’s content explores what it’s like to be the fifth king. Incidentally, this guy was exceptional! We can all learn from his choices, integrity, and passions. So – let’s take a look . . . Read More …

Read More »

Like Lucy – See What Others Don’t

Picture the scene with me. It’s from C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian. The four children, Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy are traveling in unknown places, trying to get their bearings. Basically – they’re lost. But Lucy keeps seeing Aslan when no one else does. They think she’s making it up . . . or maybe she’s crazy. Nevertheless, Lucy is the one who gets messages and directions from Aslan. In fact, Lucy and Aslan are friends. It seems she’s nurtured the ability to see what others don’t. Incidentally, this ability opens the whole universe to her imagination and her life purpose.

Let’s explore how to be more like Lucy. Read More …

Read More »