Gratitude is a Habit
Life is hard and we can easily get bogged down in all the negative situations that pervade our lives each day. However, the Bible teaches us to live from a place of thanksgiving, despite our circumstances. How do we successfully choose gratitude when we daily face challenges, negative media, and secular mindsets that are contrary to our biblical training?
We need to actively take our thoughts captive and choose a positive mindset over fear. When we operate from a place of thanksgiving and positivity, we give the enemy very little room to get us down. Not only is thanksgiving an instant mood lifter, but it is also God’s will for our lives.
The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Gratitude is a Weapon Against Negativity
I have lived in Cape Town, South Africa all my life. Besides being a beautiful and diverse nation, crime seems to be at an all-time high in many provinces around the country.
Daily we are bombarded with negative and shocking news reports that can easily overwhelm and stir up a spirit of fear. However, as a child of God, I am constantly reminded to choose hope, life, and thanksgiving despite the negative news reports.
Gratitude needs to start in the mind and heart first. When we face trials or disappointments, we need to take a step back and assess the situation from Heaven’s perspective. God is always good, so how does His goodness fit into the picture and impact the negative circumstances we are facing right now?
Grow Your Seeds of Gratitude
Make a point of seeking out God’s goodness in your own situations today and give Him thanks before you allow any negative emotions to set in.
It was Zig Ziglar who said,
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
Living from a grateful heart is the daily decision to appreciate all that life has to offer and to live out of a place of hope over fear. Yes, things do not always go our way. Yes, we may face insurmountable obstacles in life. But, the reality is that we serve a good and faithful God who promises to be there with us and assist us through the storms of life. When we choose to turn our affections to Him, we, in turn, choose hope, expectation, joy and so much more.
Gratitude Keeps On Giving
Did you know that there are many benefits to adopting gratitude as a way of life? As you begin to take on a mindset of thanksgiving, you may start to curb negative thoughts, eliminate anxiety and even diminish depression.
In fact, according to the Greater Good Science Center, preliminary research suggests that grateful people may have better sleep, healthier hearts, and fewer aches and pains than their less grateful counterparts.
In Philippians, it reads, “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,” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Through thanksgiving and a grateful heart, we can begin to experience the peace of God through any situation.
Gratitude also has ripple effects and can influence the people you interact with each day. One simple act of gratitude from one person to another can instantly change moods, mend relationships and encourage a chain reaction of thanksgiving in others.
So, what’s the play call?
What practical steps can you take to develop an attitude of gratitude each day?
- Be mindful. Take negative thoughts captive as soon as they enter your mind. Do not give the enemy room to engage you with harmful or destructive thoughts that can impact your life or stir up fear.
- Appreciate the simple things. There is always something to be grateful for – whether it is food on the table, flowers in bloom or a roof over your head. Look for the silver lining in every situation, no matter how small, and start to develop a deeper sense of gratitude for the simple things in life.
- Thank God every morning. Create a habit of praying and thanking God each morning for your many blessings. Commit your day to Him and start it on a positive note. Soon enough, you may begin to look for more things to be grateful for.
- Create a gratitude journal. Choose to write down those things that you are most grateful for in a dedicated gratitude journal. It may start out simple, but over time, you may begin to see a pattern of the immense goodness of God in your life. When you are feeling down, whip out your journal as a reminder of His faithfulness.
- Engage in good acts to others. Choosing to help others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves, often leaves one with a greater sense of gratitude for our own circumstances. Get involved in your local church’s outreach programs or support a charity in your area. Make it a family event and support a community initiative, with your time and resources. Doing good may help you develop your own sense of thanksgiving for all that the Lord provides.
- Express thanks to others. Make a point of thanking others for their role or contribution in your life. Write a note to that inspirational teacher or pastor who encouraged you through a difficult season. The more we learn to express gratitude, the more we give others the freedom to do the same.
- Choose faith over fear. Walk closely with the Father and follow His guidance. He is a great comforter, leader, provider, and peacemaker. The Bible says that He has good plans for those who love Him and follow His commands. Allow Him to help you walk in faith today, despite your surroundings.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend,” ― Melody Beattie