Paint your world with gratitude. A lesson in thanksgiving.

Paint your world with gratitude…

My first official role in ‘ministry’ was helping to look after a small team of people who made up our church worship team. It was a role I took very seriously. Very seriously.

After my appointment, I soon decided that in order to stay on top of organisation I’d need to carry a briefcase with me to every rehearsal and church on Sunday’s. Yep, you read that correctly; I carried a briefcase. If the team needed anything I was ready. The latest roster (a new colour for each new month so no one would get confused), a much-needed chart or the latest lyric sheet, I had it all in there filed for easy access.

I laugh when I look back now. I was twenty-one, bringing a briefcase to church, what was I thinking? In my defence, it was before online organisation when we drowning in paper and it was a reflection of how important I saw my role.

The call to ministry, in particular worship, was strong and wanted to make sure I gave it my best shot.

Perhaps you relate, but as with many roles in church, the joy that comes from being involved in an area that you’re passionate about can also be accompanied by a niggling feeling that more could be done to make things better. Nothing is ever finished or complete:

Rosters could be completed earlier, the team could be bigger, we could pursue more creative ventures, we could upskill, write more songs, record more songs, the other age groups could have their own teams, we could do always better at pastoring people and caring for them…

The list was endless. This two-sided coin of passion posed endless vision and endless to-do lists. For the most part, I loved it. I felt called, and it felt right.

During holidays however, this feeling would often flip. The break from the rhythm of a week would give me fresh vision but also a good dose of overwhelm.

Have you ever noticed that? When you go on holidays, and you get a bit of perspective, you remember you love your life and can’t wait to come back. Then, when holidays conclude within the first week back on the hamster wheel, you wonder how you ever operated at that capacity?

So I had one of those weeks.

“How am I going to do this God? It’s too hard. Too much.”

[Insert endless rant of all the reasons life is too hard despite many blessings… Woe is me.????]

“Paint your world with gratitude.’ Were the words that felt in my spirit.

I love that God speaks to us in the language of our heart. In ways that reach our soul. Poetic in nature these words captivated me. Paint my world. My surroundings, the people around me, my circumstances, everything. Paint, or cover everything with gratitude or thanksgiving. It took a while for my heart to catch on; my first response was to complain.

“Who can I give gratitude to? I’m the only one doing any work. I’m doing everything. Who can I thank?”

Just silence….

Such a Martha thing to say.

The silence led me to start reflecting on the team I was entrusted to lead. I took the time to think about those who contributed. Vocalists and musicians turned up; I was grateful for that, let me never take my companions for granted.

Worship leaders led, without their leadership services would be dry and hard work. Every week people, set up, packed up, cleaned up, loved Jesus and desired to build His church just as I did. We were in this together. I’d been too busy with my own tasks to realise the incredible people I was serving alongside.

Something changed that week. As I went into my usual week, I found myself noticing others more. I saw their contribution and felt grateful. I thanked them. And with each word or thanks, I realised how interdependent we all were. My perspective shifted. What seemed overwhelming soon became doable, ‘we’ could do it together.

Nothing changed externally yet with a heart of thanksgiving and gratitude, my world began to be painted in a different shade.  As I began painting, my eyes refocused from all that I felt I was carrying to see the gold within incredible people around me. With each person I thanked the load became lighter and my joy grew.

1 Thess 5:16-19 says, ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’

Paint your world with gratitude. Try it. Write down ten things that you are grateful for and watch how your mood shifts. Try it next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed. There is much to be grateful for and gratefulness keeps anxiousness and overwhelm at bay.

As I leave you I wanted to pass on one of my gratitude inspired recipes. It’s a healthy Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie from my recipe site Hands down the recipes on my site are the best recipes for cooking at home. Let me know when you cook something, it’s always a thrill to share a loved recipe. And if we don’t touch base before the end of the year, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Carly Riordan




Pumpkin pie recipe healthy gratitude


  • 2 & 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/3 cup (80g) unsalted butter melted
  • 1 & 1/2 cups Jap or Kent pumpkin (cooked and blended)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
  • 400ml (3/4 cup) coconut cream or regular cream
  • 2 Tb cornflour or arrowroot
  • 1 Tb fresh grated or ground ginger
  • 1 Tb lemon zest
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or mixed spice)
  • 1/4 tsp cloves (or mixed spice)


Carly lives on the Gold Coast, Australia with her husband Joe and their two girls: Beni and Selah. She is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, a lover of His Church, people and life in general. Inspired by all aspects of creativity & worship, Carly is passionate about helping people to live a Spirit-led life, stepping confidently into all that God has created them for. 

She has just released her first book Daughter Wait and it is revolutionising dating and relationships.

Daughter Wait Book

Daughter Wait is an invitation to consider a different approach to dating and relationships. If you have ever wondered: How do I have a Godly relationship? How do I know if he is the one? What are realistic boundaries in a Christian relationship? How do I move on from a broken heart? Then this book is for you.

Within these pages are my most vulnerable and heartbreaking moments, along with the powerful revelations and realisations that set my heart on a new course. It is a warning of the perils of dating and a reminder of the promises of a Godly relationship.

Written in Carly’s unique conversational style, you’ll cry, laugh and cheer as you follow her story of love and loss. Daughter Wait is a timeless reminder that regardless of your past, God has the best for your future.

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