18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thanksgiving….the one day of the year we reflect on being thankful.
It is easy to go through the motions on Thanksgiving Day and reflect on the many blessings that we have in our lives. Then once that is over we focus on everything that is Christmas.
What if you cultivated an Attitude of Gratitude? What if you placed an emphasis on Gratitude with the objective of being grateful 365 days of the year? What if you practiced a 1 Thessalonian 5:18 life? How would God use an Attitude of Gratitude to change your life for the better?…..and those around you!
You Would Clean Up the Negativity in Your Life
The side benefit of being grateful 365 days of the year is that you remove the need to complain. Complaining is the by-product of negativity. No more do you have room for negativity because in “everything” you are giving thanks! Your focus shifts to looking for the positive. Remember, at any one time you can hold either a negative or positive thought– you are never afforded the ability to be both. Positive or negative, it is your choice.
You See the Good in People
It can be easy to complain about others and judge their actions. It is easy to tear others down to make yourself feel better about what you are not grateful for in your life. Going through this shift towards Gratitude in your life, you start to appreciate a few things about people. First, you start to see that everyone you meet is no different than you. We all have our own issues that we constantly need to surrender, we are all trying to interpret life, and we are basically all seeking happiness in many differing ways – some constructive and some destructive. With an Attitude of Gratitude, you start to realize that we are all working out of the same playbook and start to have an appreciation for the condition of life. You start looking for the good in people and being grateful for what they bring to the table.
You change from “things don’t go my way” to things are going God’s way.
Everything in your life is an interpretation. You interpret things through the lens of self or fear or you interpret things through the lens of God or love. When you are expecting things to go wrong, you are expecting life to throw you a curveball and interpreting through the lens of fear. However, when you interpret what happens to you in life through the lens of Gratitude or love you start to see things differently. You start to appreciate the power of self-fulfilling expectation. After all, what we expect is a powerful predictor of what we receive. Will it be expecting more of God’s will to unfold or fear?
You Show More Grace
At the core of the human condition we have the tendency to complain, to be negative, and to dwell on what is not working versus appreciating and being thankful for the masterful plan that God is weaving through our lives minute by minute. You start to show yourself Grace as you realize that at our core there is the tendency to not be grateful and creating more room to show Grace to yourself and others.
You Live with Positive Expectancy and Fear Ceases to Exist
An Attitude of Gratitude means to be thankful for what God has done and look forward with great expectation to the things God will do in your life. It is easy to forget that God only wants an abundant life for all of us. Yet, we still anticipate and interpret fearfully. If God is in control in your life and you truly believe He only wants the best for you and you trust that to be the truth, fear can’t exist.
Gratitude Begets Gratitude
As I write this I can imagine a reader thinking – yes, Bob – easier said than done. As I write, so many thoughts come to the surface where I have missed the mark of Gratitude. The challenge to all of us is that old habits die hard. Being ungrateful is practiced over a lifetime and can be difficult to reverse. As a result, this isn’t anything that you can reverse on your own. Like with everything, we are to become more dependent on our relationship with God for change. Once you surrender to that desire to be grateful in all things, you start being even more grateful that God has healed the things in your past that stood in the way of you showing Gratitude which creates even more Gratitude in your life.
Could Gratitude be the thread that weaves through our life determining the potential depth of a relationship with God? I will let you figure out that answer for yourself. I write this because I feel that this is what God has been teaching me. I will be the first to say I still have a lot of work to do. However, when I have been intentional about being grateful God shows me what life is really intended to be.
This Thanksgiving consider surrendering to working towards a life of Gratitude 365 days a year. God will show you things you never knew existed.