Practicing Gratitude

We’ve all had those days where almost everything seems to go wrong. You sleep past your alarm. Your car won’t start. When you get to work things go terribly. In those circumstances, practicing gratitude usually isn’t in the forefront of our minds. Many of us resort to complaining or being snappy with those around us.  In other cases, we may struggle with feeling anxious. But is this the way we should really respond?

What the Bible Says About Gratitude

It can be easy to think that gratitude is something to practice when things are going. But when looking at Scripture, we read some interesting things about gratitude. For instance, we read the following in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV

Wow! That’s a hard one.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

As Christians, we have the assurance that God will provide for us. Therefore, we don’t need to worry. We also don’t need to complain when we don’t understand why things are going differently than we’d like. God is in control!

Practicing Gratitude

Thankful Journals

Over the years, I’ve found it helpful to have a “Thankful Journal.” Every day, I challenge myself to list 3 things that I’m thankful for. On difficult days, I really have to get creative! But it’s a good reminder that there’s always something to be thankful for. Plus, practicing gratitude on a daily basis gives me something encouraging to look back on when I’m having a rough day.

I typically use a pretty journal with lined pages. My current thankful journal says, “Fear No More” on the cover. It reminds me that God is still sovereign, even when things seem like they’re spinning out of control! Because I know the Lord, I have no reason to fear, worry, or complain.

What Can We Be Thankful For?

On days that are absolutely terrible, it can be a struggle to think of things to be thankful for. Here are some things that we can be grateful for:

  • Another day of life. We’re never guaranteed another breath!
  • God’s providence. Scripture assures us that God controls our lives. We can trust Him in all circumstances, even if we don’t understand the purpose behind what we’re going through.
  • Challenging circumstances. Believe it or not, God often uses challenging circumstances to help us grow! If you’re facing a difficult situation, consider how may be using it to help you grow in a particular area (e.g. faith, patience, endurance, courage, etc.).
  • God’s Word. What a blessing it is to be able to read the Word of God and apply it to our lives!
  • Salvation. Where would we be without the saving grace of God?
  • Prayer. We have the ability to speak directly to our Heavenly Father! What an amazing gift!
  • Family and/or friends. God places people in our lives to help support us. Who can you turn to for support?
  • Purpose. Each of us have been given a life purpose by God. I’m so thankful that life is not without meaning!

Conclusion

Christians are called to demonstrate a thankful attitude…even on the most difficult of days. Of course, this challenging because it goes against our sin nature. But we must persevere in this area! God is always good and always sovereign, even when we do not realize it. Sisters in Christ, I encourage you to begin practicing gratitude on a daily basis.

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