The other morning I woke up in a funk. Has that ever happened to you? As I was doing my treatment, I felt God nudge my heart. He inspired me right then and there to journal twenty-five things that I was grateful for that morning. You know what happened next? I found myself smiling with each sentence I wrote! My day turned around before I even got dressed, and the things that had been piling up in the back of my mind all week ceased to bother me.
Gratitude. It is a powerful tool that God has blessed us with to help us choose our attitudes no matter what we are facing each day. Once I finished my list of twenty-five things, I turned the page and wrote a quick poem. I pray that it encourages you today and helps you take your pen to paper to record your own list of thankfulness.
When you begin the morning
You paint a beautiful day!
It refreshes your soul,
Redirects your mind,
And sets your heart on course.
It paints a smile on your face,
A sparkle in your eye,
And a soothing sound in your voice.
“A thankful heart,”
“An attitude of gratitude,”
Or “count your blessings,” you say.
Whatever you call it the fact remains,
When you’re thankful,
It’s a beautiful day!
We always get what we focus on. Overcomers know that the best way to shift their perspective in life is to practice the skill of gratitude. Not only does being thankful help your disposition, it also brings with it a handful of other benefits:
- Gratitude Improves Your Health.
Have you been experiencing some restless nights lately? Maybe it’s the same routine every evening – you fall into bed exhausted, ready to drift off only to find that your mind runs wild with worry just as your head hits the pillow. You worry about tomorrow’s “to-do” list, your daughter’s medication, your husband’s job and how you’re ever going to create a quality future for your kids, let alone yourself. Just before you drift off you’re hit with a crippling fear that right around the corner lays a sleeping giant – a car accident, house fire, or bad doctor appointment – all of which seem to be inevitable in your mind.
Friend, if any part of this resonates within you, it’s time to step up and choose something different!
Studies show that those who practice gratitude on a regular basis sleep better and recover faster from illness than those who do not. Gratitude helps improve mental health, including depression and anxiety, as well as addictive behaviors. Not to mention the fact that gratitude makes you happy, and who wouldn’t like to be more happy?! Just do a search on the Internet of “the effects of gratitude on health.” You’ll discover tons of information on this subject.
- Gratitude Improves Your Relationships.
I’ve personally experienced this in my marriage as well as other relationships. Being thankful opens the door to being genuine. My marriage has been strengthened because my husband and I express gratitude toward each other daily.
My friendship with my best friends is stronger because we express gratitude for both moments of extreme happiness, as well as those moments of pure honesty where we sit down for a “come to Jesus moment!” (This has happened on many occasions on the actual big blue couch and my two best gals and I have each been on the receiving end of a healthy dose of truth!)
Being grateful allows others to see your heart and the depth of your emotions. Yes, it means being vulnerable…but it’s worth it every time.
- Gratitude Is A Spiritual Discipline.
It’s true. Our natural human tendency is not to be grateful. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the human race can be downright wicked.
That’s where the spiritual discipline of gratitude comes in. It’s not easy or normal to be thankful when bad things happen; however, it is the fastest way to shift your perspective and let God chisel you in the midst of your circumstances. Practicing gratitude in everything – in every situation whether good or bad, healthy or sick, rich or poor, happy or sad – is a spiritual act of obedience that we are all called to walk in.
In everything give thanks…
- on good days
- on lonely days
- in times of debt and financial crisis
- on sad days
- while yearning for a baby
- when struggling to breathe
- while doing treatments
- during panic attacks
- in depression
- in grief
- in joy
- while singing
- while playing piano
- while loving and eventually losing a family pet
- while loving your spouse
- in sickness and in health
- in happy times with friends
- in moments of fear
- while working
- on social media
- while running
- in yoga class
- when laughing
- in times when God is silent
- in times where it feels God isn’t there.
In every situation we find ourselves in, we are called to give thanks. Just remember: one beautiful moment of gratitude and contentment won’t last a lifetime. We must choose to see things through the lens of gratitude every day.
As you begin your weekend, I pray that you embrace this life-changing habit and choose to begin each day with gratitude from this point forward.