Join Us For 30 Days of Gratitude

October 30, 2017 | gratitude, Tell His Story | 27 comments

One of the happiest men I know turned 80 years old last week.

That’s my dad.

If you’ve been around here long, you know Dad’s story. You know about his unstoppable optimism and his heart of gratitude. You can see it in his face.

What you can’t see in the picture is his wheelchair. Or the sock covering his amputated leg. What you can’t see is the three-year-long battle that Dad has faced with that amputated leg.

But every day, Dad continues to find reasons to be thankful. It’s like he understands that if a person is given the gift of life, he should find a reason to be thankful for it, no matter how dented and banged up that life gets.  

This is the lesson I continue to learn from my father:

Some people might say that happy people become thankful people. But perhaps it’s the other way around. It’s the thankful people who are happy.

Gratitude is powerful. Gratitude acknowledges the goodness in our lives as they exist today, not as we wish them to be.

30 Days of Gratitude

Let’s be intentional in our gratitude. Let’s offer a chorus of praise even on our hardest days — especially on our hardest days.

I’ve put together a Happiness Dare for us. Starting November 1, and for the following 30 days, we can count our blessings together.

Here’s how: Simply follow along with these 30 days of prompts, listed below. (You can return daily to this post, or print the 30-day chart out by clicking here. You could also “pin” the list to your Pinterest boards, or find the list on my Facebook page.)

Whatever day you’re joining us, simply start with day 1, and complete one a day, for the next 30 days.

Share your blessings with us in community on Facebook, on Instagram, or Twitter. Use the tag #TheHappinessDare.

I know I’m not alone in wanting to find a reason to give thanks during this season. I’ve read the emails you’ve sent me. I’ve prayed with you at conferences and retreats. Being grateful feels hard because of what you’re going through.

Friend, maybe this is when we need to say thanks the most. Maybe this is when we need to be loudest in our praise. We can’t wait for perfect conditions to be grateful. Gratitude is more than a nice gesture acknowledging the gifts in our lives. It is the stubborn refusal to be held hostage by fear and despair. It’s saying to the world — and to ourselves — that despite everything, this old world is still a beautiful place. No matter how hopeless it all seems, there’s always, always something to be thankful for.

This year, I’ve come to believe that gratitude is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like … and celebrating it for what it already is.

 

Your gratitude might just change your world, but first, let it change you.

How Gratitude Makes You Happier

thehappinessdare_july-2016_hi-res_13-2

When we look for things that make us grateful, we start seeing them. And when we start noticing them, we are making actual investments in the thoughts of our future selves. We are building neural pathways, all the while becoming more resourced on the inside. When we are more resourced with happiness, we have a kind of happiness bank that we can draw from on our hardest days.

We can begin accumulating resources in our happiness banks by taking five minutes every day to consider our blessings. It’s a good practice to write them down, but you don’t have to. Merely thinking of your blessings has a profound effect on your outlook. We can devote five minutes a day, dwelling on the good things and thanking the one who gave them to us. I understand that you may not be one of those unstoppably positive people whom you know—the kind of person who wakes up singing songs, the kind of person who relentlessly posts cuddly puppy pictures on Facebook. I understand how you might be inclined to forgo counting your blessings on your hardest days. And I totally get how it feels selfish to make a list of what’s right in your little world when you know there’s a girl in a developing country who can see the ribs under her skin.

Thank God anyway. We must.

There are so many good gifts here in this world. Clean sheets and Frisbee golf and kites and reruns of Friends. A cool breeze through a cracked window. A Charlie Brown Christmas on a cold December night. An overdue date with your husband, and his arm over your shoulder at the movies. A new bottle of bubble bath, a fresh haircut, leggings-and-boots weather, the smell of a bookstore, a long rope of licorice.

Thank God for what you have been given and then use your gratefulness as a way to share the gospel with a world in need of a reason to praise.

~ From The Happiness Dare.

RELATED RESOURCE:

For more on gratitude,
read chapter 14 of The Happiness Dare.

TAKE THE DARE

November — a season when we remember all that we’re grateful for — is a great time to take The Happiness Dare. Thanks for sharing your DARE with us, Jenni on Instagram. 

Instagram

Here’s what we’ve been up to on Instagram this week. Join us there!

And from our Facebook community

“Be the person who decided to go for it.

I know there’s opposition against you right now. I know it’s tempting to give up. But opposition isn’t always a sign to quit. Sometimes, it’s a call to rise up stronger than ever before. The opposition is often the enemy, who is threatened by God’s power at work in you. The enemy knows, perhaps even more than you do, what you could accomplish if you really believed you could pull this off. Of course, the enemy is going to oppose you!

Chin up, friend. Today may be the day to make your move.

What if this is what you were made for? What if this could make the world a better place?

Go for it. Be that person. Show us what you’re made of.

“So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels” (Ephesians 6:11-12, The Message).”

YOUR TURN:

Answer our Day 1 Gratitude Challenge question in the comments:
“What unexpected blessing are you grateful for?”

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blogfound here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Katie M. Reid. Last Tuesday, I shared about the four types of friends we all need. I loved seeing that Katie linked up her recent post on how we can bless and love our Type-A friends well. Her words and suggestions are honest, encouraging, and practical. Find Katie here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer


by | October 30, 2017 | gratitude, Tell His Story | 27 comments

27 Comments

  1. KristinHillTaylor

    I love this gratitude definition and associated #TheHappinessDare.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yay, Kristin! If you take the challenge, I’ll be looking for you. xo

      Reply
  2. nylse

    The unexpected blessing I’m grateful for – music in particular hymns.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I love hymns too, Nylse. My church plays a mix of hymns and contemporary music, and I’m grateful for that.

      Reply
  3. Michele Morin

    My unexpected blessing: a huge wind storm that cancelled school and took down power lines everywhere around us. But then, my son and his family ended up here at my house this evening to do laundry and take showers, and I got to feed them supper and hold my tiny granddaughter.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Crazy how unexpected blessings come in the wake of big storms, right?

      Reply
  4. Jerri Miller

    Our unexpected blessing came out of the 2011 Flood that devastated part of the county where i live. Amazingly, in the end, things turned out better AFTER the flood than they were BEFORE the flood!

    God was with us every step of the way!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      That is an amazing blessing! Thanks for sharing, Jerri.

      Reply
  5. Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jennifer,
    I am revisiting my Gratitude Journal because, as I wrote about this week, I realize I really need to “practice in the small stuff” as far as being grateful so that I have strong gratitude and thankful muscles for when the really big trials come along in life. Lovely post and Happy Belated Bday to your Dad!! I see where you get your smile 🙂
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Your gratitude shines through, Bev. Always.

      Reply
  6. Anita

    I’m grateful for my ten boys :). Ok, they’re not really MINE, but they are in my faculty family–and despite the crowded table when they all come over to eat, I love their senses of humor and they way they are starting to act like a family.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I’ll bet that’s a wild and rowdy and FUN place to be … around your table, Anita. xo

      Reply
  7. JeanneTakenaka

    First of all, Jennifer, I love your definition of gratitude. I think it’s when we can see the life God has given us for all that it is (the easy and the hard) that we can grow in gratitude and have an accurate perspective.

    Unexpected blessings: When my car broke down last month (and hubs was away on business) a sweet friend “rescued” me. She sat with me while we waited, and drove me where I needed to be and was a pleasant distraction in what could have been a stressful situation.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      A friend who sits and waits … is a blessing indeed. xo

      Reply
  8. KellyRBaker

    Amen, gratitude is powerful. Your daily challenge looks fun. My unexpected blessing is I was asked to write a devotional for YouVersion via HelloMornings.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      That’s awesome, Kelly! With Kat Lee, right?

      Reply
  9. Lesley

    I love your dad’s example and the challenge sounds great. Taking time to focus on the things we have to be grateful for can make a big difference.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      If you do the challenge, let me know via Instagram/FB by using #TheHappinessDare hashtag. So excited to start the challenge with everyone!

      Reply
  10. Maree Dee

    I am grateful for progress in someone when others said it was impossible.

    Reply
  11. Sarah Geringer

    What a beautiful post, Jennifer. You look like your dad, and I see the traces of his happiness and thanksgiving on your face too. I love the thankfulness chart–thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  12. Susan

    I plan to participate with your 30 days on IG. Great idea.

    Reply
  13. Meghan Weyerbacher

    I love how you share your life openly. Getting to peek inside and be a part is a treasure. Your dad is an inspiration…I pray each of us can have this attitude toward life. It goes by so fast. I was driving today in the cold, rainy weather and just thought to myself, ” I am alive! That is a gift!” Have you ever had those awe-moments randomly? I love them lol.

    Reply
  14. Barbara H.

    I love that truth, that “gratitude is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like…and celebrating it for what it is.” So often we waste so much time chafing over what isn’t instead of enjoying what is, the moment God has placed us in.I like the twist on the gratitude challenge! An unexpected blessing…well, there are many of them, but I love when God brings something across my path that exactly addresses something I have been struggling with or pondering. Sometimes a line from a hymn, sometimes a verse of Scripture, sometimes a brief moment listening to the Christian radio station or from a book I am reading. When it fits just so well and speaks to me, it’s such a blessing to know He knows my heart and is sending me just what I need.

    Reply
  15. bluecottonmemory

    I love this: “A thankful heart is a happy heart!” Yes! Yes! Yes! I am thankful that God was with me in the wait of a prayer sent out – and in watching the answer to that prayer reveal itself! There are no quick fixes in raising a house full of boys to men. I am thankful God has the plan, isn’t surprised by what any of them do, and pursues them with more love and passion than I can imagine!

    Reply
  16. Sherry Thecharmofhome

    Grateful in all things the good and the bad. For the Lord has a bigger plan. Thanks for hosting!

    Reply
  17. Rachel Lee

    I absolutely LOVE this! What a great way to help us remember to be thankful.
    Answer to day #2- I am grateful for my dear friend who always shows up when I need a friend, intercedes for me on a regular basis, and loves unconditionally! :0)

    Reply

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