How to be Fiercely Grateful

(From the Beatitudinal Podcase Episode # 6: Emotions Series #1: How to be Fiercely Grateful)

Life is challenging, but this doesn’t mean that we need to live in the bog of despair.  Despite the hardships of life, we can be genuinely grateful.  How?  That’s our topic for today: Episode 6, #1 of the Emotions Series: How to be Fiercely Grateful.

Now, this is not to say that being grateful is a breezily easy task when life is hard.  Better believe it, being atitudinal is one of the several battles we fight in the war for our hearts and minds.   In view of this, the theme song for today is “Battle (Remix) by Chris August, from his “No Far Away” album.


  1. Aspiration

What we aspire towards daily in our quest to be-atitudinal, includes being FIERCELY grateful.  What dies this look like?  It is deliberately deciding to – and then following through with our firmly chosen mindset and actions – be appreciative.  Stubbornly deciding to look for and see the good things, the blessings in our lives NO MATTER WHAT.  I call this a beatitudinal stance.

  • What it is Not

What this is not, is the trite action of pasting a fake smile on that doesn’t reach the eyes, the mouthing of platitudes or triumphalist slogans – an upbeat demeanor that slips off when we think we are unobserved – “Praise the Lord!”s and “Halleluyah!”s issuing from out downturned lips.

In short, this is an absolutely vital action we must take, one that we must take care to ensure if genuine through and through, otherwise we will be overtaken by negativity and an increasingly diabolically fueled lopsidedness, our hearts will darken, and the gratitude that we seek will flee.

But wait a minute – isn’t that rather unempathetic?  After all, life can be – and for many of us feels – unrelentingly challenging.  Financial problems, health concerns, marriage woes, children worries, job difficulties, fickle friends and treacherous frienemies……Isn’t that a rather tall order to expect that we remain in a positive, grateful frame of mind? 

Not really.  We’re not talking about a drummed up enthusiasm that tries its best to ignore the realities of our lives.  This is a caricature, an extreme.  In fact, once we plot the extremes we want to avoid – being overwhelmed by the worries of this world at one end, and putting on a ‘good’ but brittle face for people at the other – we arrive at a very possible path we can simply and handily plot though the realities of our daily existence.

How to Arrive and Stay in The Grateful Space

The question thus becomes how to remain in this middle ground – realistic yet pragmatic, aware yet appreciative?  How do you evade the kill-joys, the peace-slayers and the gratitude-killers?  It takes and effort and practice, but there are some things that we can immediately do:

  • Don’t compare

Don’t compare yourself, your life with others or their lives

  • Be present

Live in the here and now, do not live in the past.  In truth, unless we religiously journal our experiences and insights, our memories are faulty.  Our recall is distorted if not outright incomplete, and when we campout there – in the inaccurate past, we become fair game for the enemy.  We begin to hear: “…God is a spoilsport – he answers other people but not me”.  We revel in FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out, etc.

Do not live in the future either – we’re not there yet, and tomorrow has enough worries of its own.  Don’t borrow trouble.  Engage with the here and now.

  • Keep a healthy perspective

Money and wealth are not the absolute aim.  Perfect health is not the ultimate test of God’s faithfulnessNeither is success.

  • Look away and deliberately shun those things you know, or come to recognize, will be a snare.  It is wisdom to flee temptation.  Avoid whatever you know will trip you up, like the plague.

Guard Your Heart

Okay.  So, you’re in the grateful space.  What now?

Guard your heart.  We don’t only want to get in the space, we want to stayin the space.  How to do that?

  1. Take Charge
    1. Remind yourself daily, ideally first thing in the day, perhaps during your Quiet Time (QT), which is a great time to prayerfully assess and reset your frame of mind, who is in charge.  That would be YOU, with God’s help.  Don’t bumble through the day unaware – refresh your memory that:
      1. You are in a spiritual battle
      1. Your enemy prowls around relentlessly
      1. There are powers and principalities involved
      1. You may have unfinished ancestral business
      1. The mind games never cease


  • Remind yourself that you are not going to be moved by appearances but instead, lock your focus – laser sharp – on God’s faithful promises.  Remember faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of the things you don’t yet see.
  • Remind yourself which positive expectation – be it hope, favor, joy, patience, etc – in which you will resolutely walk that day
  • Check whether your perspective is off kilter.  Consult a trusted mentor-in-faith if necessary, to ensure your view point and expectations are not warped due to e.g. illness, depression, a raging inferiority complex, habit, etc.
  • Cut the Monsters Down to Size

Vagueness is sometimes the petri dish in which nameless anxieties multiply and become crushing fears.  Awareness – knowledge – is power.  Check in with yourself, and identify what you may be fretting about.  What negative thoughts are pestering you?

Once you identify them, you’re clear to simply refute them and command them to flee.

Check in RealizeResistRepeat

  • Don’t be Chicken Little = Don’t Fret

Do this as often as is necessary.  Do not fret about the persistency of the negative throughts – its what they do.  In time they will lessen, although I doubt they will cease entirely on this side of eternity.  With experience, they become mere spiritual gnats that we simply need swat away.

Do not worry about what might go wrong.  God’s got you, and you’ve got this.

Negative Faith

If you find that you seem to be drawn like a magnet to the negative – the feeling of dread is like an unwelcome but persistent companion – again, reassess.

How long have you had this particular dread?  What makes you think it is imminent?  If you don’t actually really believe it’s imminent – kick it away.  If it has felt imminent for a while, has it happened yet?  If not, again, kick it away.  As yourself if in fact what you have been doing is practice negative faith – believing the worst No Matter What.  Anxiety can be like unprayer – fretting over and over, believing resolutely the worst, in contrast to faith fuelled prayer, when we approach God hopefully, asking for a positive thing or outcome. 

Swap the negative for the positive.

I’m in charge?  A monster-slayer??  Need not be a Chicken Little??? God’s got my back and He doesn’t make mistakes????  Put like that, what’s not to be grateful for, you might say??!!

Well, yes, but we’re not home free yet.  We’re in the space, and have noted tips to stay in the space, but you know what it’s like when you’ve been to the hairdresser/barber.  Your stylist does your hair, and it looks fabulous – until you get home and sleep on it.  The next morning, when you wake, the hair doesn’t look the same, and now you have the task of coaxing it back to the same fabulous stylishness of the day before….

It’s one thing to be pointed in the right direction, it’s one thing to be given tips for maintenance, its another thing entirely to put those tips in practice for the desired outcome.  As you position yourself to camp out in the gratitude space, expect this not to be a once for all thing.  We’re not looking simply for a burst of fierce gratitude for this season only: what we’re after is a slow releasing result – a steady flow of longlasting gratefulness that we can access and renew at will.

Center Yourself

So, take time out daily to refresh your spirit in the Lord’s presence.  Use this time not only to take charge of your circumstances, but it is vital that you also take time to center yourself.

  • Count your blessings – don’t just recall them mentally – spend a few minutes daily to write down specific things that happened the day before – or in the wider past – that you are grateful for.

Fine Tune

If you are going through a challenging or plain difficult time, re-calibrate pragmatically for continued sincerity – don’t let this become forced or false.  Tell yourself, for example, that

  • This is only temporary….
  • It could be worse…..
  • Truth be told, I had it coming – I brought this on myself – but the good thing is that I have made the changes needed for a better outcome and indeed, my situation, by faith, WILL turn around…
  • What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger: This won’t kill me, and its making me stronger and wiser…
  • A beneficial setup – though there is no avoiding that this is/was unpleasant, I can see that it has located/prepared me to be ready for this [name a linked specific emerging benefit] good thing…

Your Inherent Alarm System

Decide to recognize negativity as a warning sign – an alarm – a red flag indicating that you are straying from your due center.  When negative feelings – envy, discouragement, resentment, apathy and the like – begin to press in insistently and put down roots, it usually means you are no longer focusing on God.  Instead, you are likely:

X starting to believe negative lies

X giving pessimistic or negative expectations undue credibility, and thus power over you

In fact, if you tune in more closely to examine the impulses or thoughts rousing the negative emotions you are experiencing, you will likely realize you have been subject to a barrage of fleshly or diabolical thoughts that are subconsciously pully you down.

So, when you detect (undue) negativity, use it as a warning system to snap back to attention – Christian soldier: Atten-SHUN!!!


In sum, we can’t be lax about this.  There’s no room for flabby sentiment or complacent laziness.  This is a battle, make no mistake. 

There’s no avoiding it – to live in the mindset we seek – to be fiercely grateful – an attitude that is rightfully yours and very possible for you – you must fight for it, and when you have attained it, defend it to maintain your stance.

You must guard your heart.  If you don’t tend to your heart, the fruit will be a list of uglies: anxiety, fear, envy, selfish ambition, bitterness, anger, unbelief, covetousness, depression, jealously, pride, pessimism, hatred, unbelief, a diabolical perspective, resentment, grudges, unforgiveness, doubt, furious outbursts, to name but a few.  The person bound by enough of those awful sentiments may be driven to self-medicate or to substance abuse simply to douse the awful emotion flames.

The bible cautions that the works of the flesh – the things to which our soulish urges tend (as illustrated by the preceding list) – are bad, but that the fruit of the Spirit – which go against the grain of our soulish tendencies – are good.  We are reminded that the heart is deceptive and desperately wicked.  That from an untended, negative heart, bad things emerge. 

It is hard – if not almost impossible – to count one’s blessings, let alone be rigorously grateful in that state.  Even anxiety will weigh the heart down.  Guard your heart!


Father God, thank You.  Thank You for all You do for us.  Thank you for being our loving, ever present Guard and Guide.  We are so thankful that fierce gratitude is an appropriate and very attainable response to the lives You have given us.  Enable us to maintain and flourish in our beatitudinal stances.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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