Gratitude. It’s something I am embarrassed to say I struggle with. Sure, I’m “grateful” when something wonderful happens, but when it comes to the day-to-day full of deadlines, debt, drama, and chaos, I don’t feel grateful. I feel annoyed. I feel exhausted. Anything but thankful.

I know people who are so full of life, their joy so infectious, that even in the darkness and the disappointments, they find something to be grateful for. They still, in the midst of heartache or frustration, show appreciation and love for the people and things around them.

And that made me think about how I handle life, both when it’s good and when it’s bad. What am I putting out there about my attitude toward life?

Even when things are going well, I find that I just try to get through the mundane daily tasks quickly and before I know it, the day has gone by and I realize I’m exhausted. Exhausted from carrying the burdens of everything that “could have” gone wrong, from being so grave and serious that I didn’t stop to smile or laugh.

I want to get into the habit of appreciating the people and things in my life. I want people to know by the energy I put out into the world that I am participating in life, not just getting by.

I want to live fully right where I am and recognize the goodness and joy in the what is around me.

Gratitude is a way of living that opens our hearts and connects us with God. It’s a form of love that, when we acknowledge and express, brings us closer to those in our lives.

Gratitude brings us joy and happiness, and isn’t that what we all really want to experience in our days?

Gratitude changes our lives because it changes our hearts. Instead of focusing on what is not or what might be, we become focused on what IS.

Being intentional about gratefulness will also help me in knowing that what I have is enough. I don’t need bigger, better, faster, shinier to be happy. I can be happy now, I only need to start and end each day with a grateful heart.

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This post is part of the 31 Days of Intention series. You can see other posts in this series here.