Contributors Learning to love like him

Small steps of gratitude can lead to deepening faith

Joshua Ruoff is the lead consultant for the archdiocesan special-needs ministry. He can be reached by email at:

by Joshua Ruoff

November is the month of Thanksgiving.

Family, football, the Macy’s parade, our favorite foods in amounts that our heart could never imagine, and perhaps the most “famous” Thanksgiving tradition, the family table “What are you thankful for?” discussion.

My least favorite part of Thanksgiving is the countless number of social media posts about being thankful. Many people feel they have to make that long Facebook or Instagram post stating how thankful they are, which can spark jealousy and comparison in others, and limit our ability to see the blessings that God has placed in our lives.

Now, before someone goes and looks at my social media history and wants to cancel my columns, let me be the first to admit that I am guilty of having done this.

I am not saying that it is bad. Of course we should be extra mindful on Thanksgiving to give thanks to God for all his blessings. We need, however, to be expressing our gratitude and thanksgiving to God every single day.

The word “thank,” and variations of the same are used at least 139 times in the Bible, most often with the thanks being directed at God.

I was always taught that every prayer that we offer to the Father should start with a prayer of thanksgiving and praise. By doing this, we are shaping our minds and attitudes to always be thankful. Especially if we begin our day with a prayer of thanksgiving, we are setting our day up for success by having a grateful attitude right from the start.

“An attitude of gratitude” as SpongeBob would say. Look up the song and thank me later for having it stuck in your head.

As you begin to make changes to start your day with gratitude, don’t overthink it. Make small changes at a time and grow from there. Maybe it can start with a simple “thank you” to God as you begin to step out of bed.

Allow the Spirit to guide you from there as your heart yearns for a deeper relationship with Christ.

A popular “tool” for a thankful heart and mind is to keep a daily list of 10 things that you are thankful for from that day.

Sometimes it can be challenging to come up with 10, which is a sign that we need to be more cognizant of the blessings in our daily life.

So, as we end this month of Thanksgiving, I ask you: What are you thankful for, and have you thanked God for it today?

“Our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” — 1 Chr 29:13

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Joshua Ruoff

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