I used to keep a detailed gratitude journal. I challenged myself to write at least 5 things a day that I was thankful for–even on the toughest days. Although this might seem like a cute positive thinking exercise, there is so much more to a lifestyle of gratitude.
I found that even on my worst days when having a chronic illness made me bedridden or when I felt the heavy weight of being single press in on me, I could still choose gratitude.
Gratitude not only changes our thinking; it transforms our whole lives. Here are 3 ways practicing gratitude has transformed my life and faith.
Re-tracing God’s Faithfulness
When I flip through my gratitude journal from three years ago, I nod my head and smile at all of the little (and big) ways God has been faithful to me. Every beautiful sunset or time with a beloved friend or family member is a reminder of God’s compassion.
Sometimes prayers mingled with my list of blessings, and I can’t believe how many prayers God has answered! When we keep a gratitude journal or even just recite our blessings, we re-trace the history of God’s faithfulness in our lives.
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5 NIV)
Life gets hard sometimes–that’s not a secret. But remembering God’s past faithfulness and blessings reminds us just how awesome and powerful He is. Gratitude carries us through life’s struggles by reminding us of the one who’s always holding on to us.
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Gratitude Lifts Our Perspective
I’m reading an amazing book by Max Lucado called Anxious for Nothing. This book shows us how we can conquer anxiety through the powerful Word of God, and one strategy is by expressing gratitude.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
It’s so tempting to limit our prayers by simply asking for things. Yes, prayer involves making humble requests to God, but praising God in our prayers gives us a breakthrough like no other.
When we praise and worship, our problems are no longer the focus. Instead, we can clearly see the Prince of Peace. When we lift Jesus above ourselves, we find our burdens are lifted as well.
We all want peace in our lives, but peace can’t possibly come from our ever-changing circumstances. However, when we praise God and express our gratitude for who He is, we shift our perspective towards a heavenly peace.
Creating a Heart of Overflow
Gratitude has a powerful effect that can change the world–it gets us outside of ourselves.
When we take time to remember God’s faithfulness and lift Him up in praise, we make room in our hearts to remember and encourage others.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16 NIV)
When we find Godly contentment, we begin to see those with physical and spiritual needs that can be ministered to. A lifestyle of gratitude and Godly joy is contagious. Our hearts open up and become homes for the lost and broken–which is exactly what Jesus did. When we look to Jesus with a heart of gratitude, love and joy overflow.
I’ve recently started a new gratitude journal, and I love the way it’s changing my heart. Sometimes I’ll stop to look outside the window of my workplace and admire the sunshine, praising God for the light He shines on me every moment.
What about you lovely one? What are you grateful for today? I believe that if you start counting your blessings daily, you’ll see the light of Jesus shining through every ordinary moment.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving lovely one! I hope you have a peaceful and joyful holiday surrounded by people you love. Next week I am having surgery on my elbow again, so there will not be a blog post for the holiday. I will be counting my blessings, including your love and prayers!
(Images from Canva and Unsplash)
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