ap·pre·ci·a·tion

(uh-pree-shee-ey-shuh-n) noun

1. gratitude, thankful recognition
2. the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value
3. clear perception or recognition

(Thanks to dictionary.com for these insightful definitions.)

The fact is, there just aren’t beautiful definitions for the precious words gratitude or thankfulness. The phrase, “the act of being thankful” just doesn’t inspire me or cause me to go into a state of soul searching. What it means to be thankful or grateful, however, is something far greater than the simple definition.

In my search for prettier ways of saying thankful or grateful, I came across a word that’s just not as pretty, but its definition is incredibly deep and challenges my soul to the core. Appreciation.

My eyes continually go back to the second definition: “the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value.” This defines gratitude in such a rich way. The thing is, gratitude is a choice. It does not come naturally in all circumstances. However, when I choose to assess the true value of what I have instead of looking at its face value, then I can’t help but feel so incredibly grateful for what I have.

After going through a trying season, I inevitably come out on the other side with a far deeper appreciation for all that I have because I’ve gotten a glimpse of what it would be like without it.

As I look at all the cracks in my house’s walls and the marred places in the flooring with the idea of appreciation, I see that each flaw makes up part of my home. I can appreciate my home as a whole because it is what houses my family and the memories we make together each day. Additionally, I don’t have time to stress about the crumbs or fingerprints all over everything because when I look at the value of the culprits while I’m assessing their true value, I get a clearer view of what is worthy of my attention.

I’ve been working to make my view of thankfulness be one of sincere appreciation. Doing this takes more effort than simply listing off everything like I’ve done in the past. I appreciate the deliberate focus that it requires, and I pray that I never lose sight of this target.

 

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