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“Make your home in me, and I will make my home in you.” – Jesus

EXPLORATION 41 Gratitude

Spiritual Direction

Left unattended, our circumstances and choices can quickly lead to a fragmented life. Stress and hurry pull us apart. We detach from our emotions and become unavailable to the life of Jesus within. Lost and feeling unaccompanied, we can only hope for a trail of breadcrumbs to lead us home. Mercifully, the Apostle Paul confirms such a trail exists. And memorably, he gives us a name to call it: gratitude.


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.[1]

Anxious is “divided, pulled apart, fragmented” due to ongoing choice.

By definition, we experience the peace of God when “all essential parts are joined together as one.” This kind of peace is frequently translated as wholeness.

Thanksgiving means gratitude, which leads us out of fragmentation to wholeness. Gratitude is the choice to give thanks for our experience of God’s grace.

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. . . . The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious. . . because, step by step, they reveal that all is grace.[2]


Prayerfully ask Jesus to show you where his grace has been given to you and thank him for each occurrence. You might be surprised by what he reveals.

  1. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV).
  2. Henri Nouwen,