I’ve been interested in this book for awhile, so when I had the opportunity to review it, I said “yes, please!” It was well worth the wait. =-)
As someone who has spent more than a year working to cultivate a spirit of gratitude (and who has been blogging about that journey!), having a book focused specifically on how to “choose” to be grateful was wonderful for me.
On the back cover, the author asks these two questions:
What if we responded with worship instead (of protesting or whining)?
What if we moved beyond an occasional “thank you” to cultivate a lifestyle of appreciating God’s goodness every day of our lives – despite the circumstances?
The book explores all the ways we can be grateful, but it goes one step further and makes sure we understand that an attitude of gratitude isn’t really about just saying “thank you” all the time – it’s about having a heart that seeks to appreciate the seemingly mundane, the things that aren’t necessarily things you’d be thankful for otherwise, but those things that make life easier/better/more fun/happier/etc/etc/etc. It made me think about the things I’m grateful for, and how often I’m grateful for big things… but isn’t life filled up with those little things, small moments, “trivial” things? Shouldn’t I be grateful for those as well? Even being grateful that my situation, while at times not the best in the world, is better than it could be? There was an example given of someone who had been robbed, but was still able to be grateful for so many things after that experience… could we each think the same way?
Thinking about worship instead of frustration was a really great point for me, because while I do try to look on the bright side of situations, I don’t consider that I should worship instead of just have positive thoughts. That said, while reading this book, I realized that often in my moments of frustration, that’s when a hymn will come to mind, when a praise and worship song starts running through my head, so maybe I do turn to worship more than I think I do? But what an important thing that is in turning around our times of angst, to praise the Lord instead of giving in to being annoyed or irritated!
This book is full of great examples and really thought-provoking statements, but probably the BEST part of the book was the section at the end – Growing in Gratitude: A 30-Day Devotional Guide. The author tells us right away that “being a thankful person is a choice” and that you’ll need two things on this journey: your Bible, and a journal (to record your thoughts). I’m thinking that a journal isn’t absolutely “necessary” but it would allow you to do this exercise more than once, if you didn’t write your answers in the book. But this section of the book reinforces things learned in each chapter, takes you to Scripture that also backs up how important the thoughts are, makes you look up the verses and track your thoughts, then challenges you to an action. I guarantee that if you go through the 30-Day Guide, you will come out on the other end with more appreciation! There’s no way you can finish it without having a change in your outlook… and if you get to that point, then I think the book accomplished exactly what the author intended.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. I was in no way required to write anything positive – the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.
For those who might be interested, my gratitude blog can be found here: http://gratitudeandappreciation.wordpress.com/