Here’s a revelation; God does not owe us anything. He has already given His life as a ransom for our sins. Somehow we believe we deserve more and deserve better. In our Western culture, particularly with the Millennial Generation (Generation X), there is a sense of entitlement.
We enter into sin when we begin to complain about our circumstance; understand I am not discounting heartache and hardships. I know firsthand about getting dealt a “bad hand” in life, but sometimes you have to play with the hand you are dealt. There are a lot of people who are angry with God, and displeased with their lives. It is okay to work out your anger with God, but don’t stay there!
What if we started focusing on what is right with our lives, as opposed to everything that is wrong with our lives? Our attitude about things is actually more important than what happens to us. You may be thinking, “How can I be grateful when my life is a mess?” This may be true, but there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
There are even benefits to being grateful, such as improved immune system, feelings of connectedness, a positive outlook on life, boosts your well-being, and benefits your cardiovascular system. Being grateful protects you from negative emotions that can come from extreme loss. WEBMD reported that gratitude can help boost feelings of belonging and decrease feelings of stress. Emotionally, gratitude can foster positive emotions, make you more relaxed, and even more resilient. Gratitude has been linked as well to being less self-centered, increased self-esteem, healthier marriage, more and deeper friendships, increased energy, and improved work performance such as time management and goal achievement.
Life is continually filled with distractions and circumstances that can cause us to not focus on what God has done for us. If we are not mindful to refocus our attention to our blessings, bitterness and anger can seep in. When we shift our anxiety and burdens to the Lord, we exchange those weights for peace, which in turn causes thanksgiving.
Keep a daily gratitude journal or say verbally out loud at least (5) things that you are grateful for each day. Counting your blessings instead of counting your woes, can lead to improved health, relationships, emotions, and career. It will even improve your relationship with God.
“Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him. It will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our heart.”
-Andrew Murray (1827-1917), South African born missionary and minister.
Psalm 118:24 ESV
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Colossians 3:17 ESV
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Psalm 136:1 ESV
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.