I think God was trying to get my attention.
Three days last week I was at a conference were the power of gratitude was mentioned over and over. That planted a seed.
In church the next day, the two main speakers chose the same talk: Elder Uchtdorf's Grateful in any Circumstances. I was awake. I took notes.
The same day I taught a Young Women and family home evening lesson about the concept of power prayers, and how gratitude is a big part of using prayer to connect with God and feel His Spirit.
Then this week I spent studying the promised blessings of gratitude. During the week my daughter showed me a video about gratitude increasing happiness. I took lots of notes.
I am amazed.
Here are my two main take-aways.
1) Gratitude brings us ENORMOUS, DELICIOUS blessings!
Who wouldn't want to be more happy, joyful, lighthearted, satisfied, likable, peaceful, enriched, enriching and uplifting everyone around you?
Who wouldn't want to forge bonds of love, loyalty, to feel closer to God, to receive more blessings, to make others feel better about themselves?
Who wouldn't want peace in tribulation, the ability to praise God even in pain, to feel the warmth of heaven's embrace melting the cold of bitter snow?
Who wouldn't want clearer vision, an expanded mind, eternal perspective during trials, empathy, other Christlike virtues, humility, understanding, and to have a sweeter life?
Count me in.
2) God commanded us to be grateful IN ALL THINGS.
Heavenly Father didn't say, "Be grateful to me when things are going great, you have no trials, and you feel extra blessed that day." Nope. First, nobody may ever feel that way, because we tend to get used to what we have and, like the fish in the tank, not stop to thank God for water.
He said to be thankful in all things, to live in thanksgiving daily. Even in the hard moments. Maybe especially in the hard moments. I love the heroic examples of Joseph Smith, the Mormon pioneers, Job, and Nephi, who are models of how to express gratitude a midst great challenge. I bet their ability to focus on gratitude helped keep them from drowning in the sorrow of the moment.
It's like a buoy.
It's like a life preserver.
It's like a hot air balloon.
Gratitude lifts us.
That's all there is to it. No matter how high or low we already are. It lifts us. And it lifts everyone around us when we deliberately focus on and express gratitude to God and to others.
I am filled to overflowing with gratitude for God's repeated commandment to be grateful, because of the bazillion blessings it brings me. No matter how hard I try to thank and serve God, I'll never catch up. He wins. Which means so do I.
Case in point update.
As I finished this blog post I heard a fight in the other room. I broke up the fight but there was that awful spirit of contention all through the house. Yuck. So we played the gratitude game. We went around and around the circle, each saying something we are grateful for. Slowly but surely, God's Spirit came back and melted away the yuck. Ahhhh...
One more reason gratitude is a powerful prescription.