Being thankful can be tough during trying times. COVID-19 and cultural tensions have left us stretched and stressed. Juxtaposed to our tensions is tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Day. For me, this annual holiday reminds me that everyday should be filled with gratitude, especially for family and friends.
Did you know that one of the healthiest emotions is gratitude? Research shows that thankful people have a higher immune systems and lower blood pressure. Grateful people tend to exercise more and eat heathier. It even improves mental health, reducing depression and anxiety. (Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness).
No wonder the Bible says that we are to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
So how can we cultivate this important attitude of gratitude? Here are three things we all can do to be more grateful.
Remember all that God has done! Every Tuesday morning, I meet online with a group of our pastors for prayer. Yesterday I asked them to share some things they were thankful for. One shared about how a friend helped them during a time of need. Others talked about the blessings of their wife and kids and church family. Another talked about God’s faithfulness in trials. And the list went on. The Psalmist wrote, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me” Psalm 103:2 (NLT).
Decide to be more thankful. What is the conversation running in your head? Intentionally focus on gratitude instead of resentment. Replace grumbling with gratitude. It’s too easy to be caught up with negativity. Watch your words. Commit to saying thank you more often in your conversations with others and with God. The Bible says that even our thought life should be “excellent and praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8).
It is no accident that give is part of the word thanksgiving. You can’t be thankful without giving. Grateful people are generous people. Misers are miserable. The Bible says it is more “blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Even during these times of isolation, there are many ways we can connect and care for others. Write a note. Make a phone call. Help that friend!
BEFORE YOU GO
The Bible says that we are to be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20, NIV).
What are you thankful for today?