One of the most important yet sometimes the hardest choices we can make each and every day is to choose gratitude. There’s always something to be grateful for, even if it’s simply the breath that fills our lungs.
I have to be honest, though, I don’t always feel grateful. I often forget how big I’m blessed. I tend to focus on what I don’t have rather than what I do.
I wonder if you struggle the same way I do? I’m guessing the answer for many of you is yes.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
The word that sticks out in the passage above and makes it easier to swallow for me is the word “in.” We are called to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstances. Let’s face it, life on earth is hard. Bad things happen. Evil is alive and well.
But, and that’s a big but, we can still be grateful in all circumstances because some things never change: God is in control, and He can bring good things out of bad things. Salvation through Jesus Christ can never be taken away from us. Heaven is waiting and will be our forever home! God’s love is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and nothing on earth can change the fact that God loves us. God redeems our messes and stupid mistakes. There’s a million reasons to be thankful, even when life feels hard and out of control.
When I came back from my mission trip to Vietnam earlier this year, I felt truly changed after witnessing the extreme poverty there. When a sweet 42-year-old woman sat before me and explained how excited she was to receive her first wheelchair because she had crawled around on the ground or been carried her entire life, my heart melted. I swore I would never be ungrateful again.
I meant it at the time, I really did, and my intentions were good; but as with most of us, my resolve slowly began to wane.
Reality is, unless we make a conscious and intentional decision to be grateful in ALL circumstances, we will focus on what we don’t have. We will grumble. We will feel like a victim. We will miss the blessings in our lives.
If we want to be in God’s will for us, bottom line, we will choose an attitude of gratitude. The Bible makes it very clear that a thankful heart is indeed God’s will for us.
Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. – Psalm 67:3
And I smile as I think about how, once again, God has our best interests at heart. He knows that gratitude is linked to happiness. Study after study has proven that the more grateful you are, the happier you are.
Pastor Charles Stanley wrote, “Although gratitude is always beneficial, it’s not always easy. When you’re discouraged or overwhelmed, it’s probably not on your radar to thank God. But I’ve learned from experience that shifting focus and thanking the Lord for all He’s done is the fastest way to change one’s attitude and reenergize.”
I encourage you, my friend, choose gratitude. Choose to be thankful. Choose to give God praise in every circumstance.
And please listen in below as Laura and I discuss Choosing Gratitude.
Hugs and love,