Is appreciation really an art?

 I think that it is.

Like any art, it takes time to cultivate.  It takes intention. It takes practice and sometime, it takes sacrifice. And what better time to begin refining the art of appreciation than in the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving?

I think that by default, many of us are complainers. (raises hand) It’s many times easier for us to see what is wrong in a situation versus what is right.

However, the Bible gives us a different standard. It tells us in Philippians 2:14 to do “everything without complaining or arguing.” I am quick to point this out to my children- and I’ve also begun reciting this verse to myself when I’m having a hard time with my attitude. Additionally, Psalm 28:7 tells us,“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”Ahhh, that is what I want my response to the Lord to be!

Speaking of appreciation, October was pastor appreciation month. Yes, it’s a “made up” thing but I have to brag on our church for a bit. It seemed like almost every day someone was loving on us in some way. Bringing over meals since we began fostering children (we got two children within 24 hours!). Sending sweet text messages. Hand-written notes in the ACTUAL mail. (my favorite!)  Then, on a Sunday morning the sweetest presentation with a loving gift of a zoo membership for our family and a gift card to one of our favorite restaurants.

I feel really, really loved and appreciated right now. We certainly don’t do what we do FOR the appreciation- we do it because it’s what God has led us to do. But in all honesty, it’s a whole lot easier for me to have my husband leave the house at 11 pm or 5 am (sometimes both in the same day!) for an emergency counseling meeting or be gone all weekend for training sessions when I know that his hard work is appreciated. (psst… have you thanked your pastor lately? I know he would so appreciate it!)

I want to spread that appreciation to others. I have two goals for the remainder of the year: one is to send out one hand-written note of appreciation each week to someone. Maybe someone I see all the time, maybe someone who helped shape my life in earlier years. Nine weeks of appreciative notes. Something tangible, yet something attainable. I’m putting it in my calendar so I won’t forget.

My second goal: to turn my heart towards thanksgiving. Not only the holiday, but my heart posture. Thankfulness for the easy things like my children, my husband, my church, my home, and my country. But also for the hard things. The refining trials in my life. (I feel the Holy Spirit working in my life during trials.) The broken faucet in my kitchen. (I have a kitchen.) The floors that ever need sweeping. (I have beautiful children that love to be outdoors and thus track in mud.)

I would love to hear your ideas on appreciation. How have you felt loved, or how to you spread love and appreciation to the people in your life? Hit reply and let me know. I think it’s time we begin cultivating this art in a tangible way. 

I have included a free printable. If you’d like to print it, click here to be taken to the page where it lives. (or here for a black and white version) :) Then right click (or command click) to download and print. May it serve as a reminder to all of us to burst into song of thanksgiving!

Grace and Peace,
PS be looking out for a new book review next week!

About Kelli Hays

Kelli Hays is a wife, mother, writer, and friend. She has been blogging since 2008 and loves sharing inspiration for the everyday woman!