It’s the holiday season. We are bundling up in scarves and mittens; buying gifts and trimming the Christmas tree. Although Christmas is almost upon us, I still keep thinking of Thanksgiving and the idea of practicing gratitude in everyday life.
The holiday season is a difficult time of year for many people. So many of us have experienced loss over the years. And many are still isolated due to the pandemic. And of course, this is one of the busiest times of year, adding stress to our plates. Kind of hard to always feel grateful when all of this is a lead weight on your shoulders.
If you feel this way lovely one, let me assure you that you’re not alone. This season has been a struggle for me as well. I have been feeling a little “off” emotionally. And I’ve also been experiencing a flare-up of some health issues I had been relieved of for a while now.
Recently, someone shared a quote with me that it is physiologically impossible to feel both stressed and grateful at the same time. Although I don’t know if I have found the study to back that claim up, a quick Google search definitely supports the impact gratitude can have on mental health.
The Power of Gratitude in Worship
I believe that we were created to be grateful. Our lives were meant to be lived in the experience of praise and worship to God.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV
We express gratitude and praise because Jesus is worthy. No matter what our circumstance is or how we feel, He is still God. He is the creator of the universe, and sustainer of all things. Not only that, but Jesus also gave His life to save us while we were still sinners. He is definitely worthy of praise!
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11 NIV
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV
Worship is not just what we do when we sing songs and hymns at church. It’s a lifestyle. When we praise God for who He is and what He has done for us, we are expressing the highest form of gratitude.
The Power of Gratitude for Mental Health
After discovering the effects of gratitude on mental wellness, I decided to start counting my blessings whenever I felt overwhelmed with anxiety or sadness. And let me tell you…it’s a game changer!
Singing praise to the Lord or just reciting (and really thinking about) three things I am grateful for brings a sense of peace and contentment that I can’t really explain.
I remember that God is good, and He is my provider. I remember that I am not in control of everything in my life–or this world. I can only do my best, and then I surrender the rest to the Lord knowing that I have all I need in this moment.
I have no idea what you are going through right now, lovely one. It may be a circumstance so difficult that you can barely find room to breathe. You are not alone, and God has not abandoned you. In fact, the Bible says you are in good company with the early church history of suffering saints.
Do not give up, lovely one, and do not lose heart. There is hope for tomorrow, and there is certainly hope for eternity. This promise alone is worth meditating on, and it’s certainly worth our gratitude.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
Ways to Practice Gratitude
I hope you are inspired to make gratitude a daily practice. Although I have a few ideas below, feel free to come up with your own (and share in the comments below!).
- Start a gratitude journal. Try to write at least three things down in it every day.
- Go on a gratitude walk. Take a walk outside and praise God for His creation. Maybe walk with someone else and let them know what you are thankful for. At the beginning of the pandemic, my husband and I would do this frequently.
- Play some worship music and just take time to sing praises to God.
- Start your mornings by thanking God for a new day with new mercies (Lamentations 3:22-23).
- End your night by telling God what you are thankful for in bed. This will combat any anxiety or feelings of stress than can creep up at night.
Thanks for reading! What are you grateful for today? Please let me know in the comments below!
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