What fills your heart? Gratitude or gripes? Is it words of thanks or complaints about the lack of something?
Studies have shown that gratitude makes us healthier. In one study, one group of participants was asked to write down five things they were grateful for and another group to write down five complaints or hassles from the past week. After ten weeks, those in the gratitude group felt better about their lives and were a full 25% happier than the hassled group.
I find it interesting that the studies point out the importance of giving thanks. Centuries before these discoveries, the Bible gave guidance in having an attitude of gratitude. Here are five verses to guide you to give thanks:
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8
Reflect on all the Lord has done in your life and those you love. Not just in this season of Thanksgiving, but learn to look for where God is moving and give thanks. Remember the small blessings that are easy to take for granted.
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness.” Psalm 7:17
Be grateful for the Lord’s character, that He desires relationship with us. Be grateful He is a God of second chances. If you need some ideas for praising God’s character, please read a previous post, “Praise in Personal Worship.”
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
An attitude of thanks in every situation helps us navigate trials.
It re-focuses our attention on thanking God for His strength, not on the problem. The verse does not say to give thanks for all circumstances, but in all circumstances. We can thank Him that He will use bad things for our good. He specializes in redemption.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Col 4:2
A thankful heart is also expectant, looking to God for provision. It keeps us aware of the answer when it comes.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
An attitude of gratitude brings peace to our hearts. It calms down worry and crowds out fear and doubt. When I worry I get tied up in knots with anxiety, focussing on the problem. But when I shift my focus to give thanks to God–to look for the blessings around me–I gain peace.
In the flurry of activities that fill our lives, pause to give thanks.
If you keep doing it, gratitude will become a discipline that improves your perspective.
Have a blessed Thanks-giving!