Devotions, Gratitude, Identity & Purpose Devotional: Purposeful Gratitude

By Michelle Williams


It’s November, and you’ve likely seen or heard the word “gratefulness” at least once already. What kinds of feels come up for you at the mention of that word?

I’ll be honest—it sometimes doesn’t look pretty for me. In the past, I’ve gotten a little down on myself because I’ve failed miserably at installing the Pinterest-perfect versions of gratefulness practices or traditions in my own life. And I’m not knocking the ideas that are to be found on Pinterest. By all means, they’re brilliant—which is why I ever aspired to them in the first place. The people who create the Pinterest-perfect versions of gratefulness were made for it.

Literally. They were made for it.

But who made them for such a purpose? You know where I’m going with this. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 all the way!

My problem? I assumed I had low spiritual self-discipline because I struggled to adhere to someone else’s God-given inspirations for gratefulness. I placed an unrealistic expectation on myself to hold a gratefulness practice that wasn’t natural in my life. And what I’ve realized recently is that I’ve already been practicing gratefulness on a regular basis—I only failed to name it as such.
I may not have been made to create the most beautiful “thankful trees” on Pinterest, but God has certainly given me purpose. God gave me a talent for writing, and He called me to use that talent for His purposes. I’ve abided faithfully in that calling for nearly four years now. Performing our purpose can become a regular practice of gratefulness if we approach our God-given purposes in a posture of gratefulness. 

Discovering God’s purpose for me and living into it has opened up a deep well of gratefulness in my life. Not only do I feel grateful that He values my contributions to His Kingdom, but I also experience a rush of gratitude each time He reveals the impact I’m making in other lives. This cycle is my gratefulness practice, and I am so grateful for my purpose. It keeps me coming back to God in a posture of gratitude—all I needed to do was name it.

Questions for Reflection

  • Can you identify any gratefulness cycles in your life that have gone previously unnamed as your gratefulness practice? What keeps you coming back to God?

  • Make a list of routines or activities that you do approach, or can begin to approach, in a posture of gratitude. (This can include weekend services!)

  • Read Colossians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, James 1:2-4, and 2 Corinthians 4:15. What do you think the Spirit wants you to hear about gratefulness?


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