Pastor’s Pen

“O give thanks to God, for God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 118:28

“Give thanks in all circumstances… 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Express Gratitude

Changing habits is hard. Someone lamented to me recently that their annual health checkup is boring. “Every year my doctor asks me if I’m eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular exercise. I always say ‘yes’, but I feel guilty. I lied.”

Knowing that certain behaviors will create health is not the same thing as choosing to do them. It’s like that with what we might call our Habits of Faith. We may believe that it’s good for the soul to regularly read scripture or inspirational material, pray or meditate, forgive or practice acts of kindness towards strangers. Believing that it is spiritually healthy to engage in certain Habits of Faith is not the same thing as regularly engaging in Habits of Faith either.

It may come as a surprise, but most of us pastors, priests, rabbis and imams actually imagine that engaging in religious practices can change lives and transform the world. We’re not so much like a mommy kissing the boo boos of the world and promising that everything is going to be o.k., than we are like that kick-butt coach you love to hate that tells you to run another lap. If we truly believe in a God who promises us abundant life and reveals to us how we may receive it, then engaging in Habits of Faith is our way of responding by showing up regularly for practice.

Your life can actually be more abundant and joyful. If on a scale of 1-10, you want to create a more abundant and joy-filled life at a motivation level of 8, 9, or 10, then join me in a year-long commitment to further develop Habits of Faith.

Each month we’ll introduce a new Habit of Faith, and invite you to practice it daily for a month. At the end of the month we’ll introduce a new Habit of Faith, much like a coach builds on previously learned skills to win the game.

Begin today to Express Gratitude as the first Habit of Faith. Every day, Express six Gratitudes by 6 p.m. That’s it! You may lift up six prayers of gratitude first thing in the morning, say a prayer of gratitude every two hours until dinnertime, or express gratitude to six people for specific things throughout the day that you appreciate. If you forget and decide at bedtime to include all six gratitudes in evening prayer, or if you mess up and forget altogether, forgive yourself. Express six Gratitudes as soon as you think of it.

If you want to create a more abundant and joy-filled life, but aren’t quite ready to commit, just keep showing up. Keep reading the Pastor’s Pen, keep saying your prayers. The God who invites you into new life will never grow weary of welcoming you whenever you’re ready to begin.

Prayer: Thank you…thank you…thank you…thank you…thank you…thank you…Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland