Being thankful is like a muscle, the more you exercise it the stronger it gets. The more you are thankful, the more you want to be thankful and the more you are thankful. It is a beautiful cycle. Being thankful is something that we chose to do, and the Bible urges us to do it even when we do not want to. The song Even When it Hurts by Hillsong UNITED puts it beautifully “Even when the fight seems lost, I’ll praise you. Even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise you. Even when it makes no sense to sing, louder then I’ll sing your praise”
When we chose to praise the Lord and his goodness, being thankful for even the smallest thing like the breath in our lungs, we recalibrate our spiritual compasses to point to the Truth. Our lives are filled with people, events and situations that can easily disrupt our knowledge of the truth. Being thankful resets our hearts. Being thankful is a twofold action, we express our thankfulness to the Lord for something small, then we notice more things and give him thanks for that, and then we notice even more, you see the pattern forming?
Lean into being thankful with these scriptures:
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
2. Psalm 107:1 ESV
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
3. Ephesians 5:20 ESV
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
4. Colossians 3:15-17 ESV
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
5. James 1:17 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
6. Philippians 4:6 ESV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7. 2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
8. Psalm 106:1 ESV
Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
9. Psalm 105:1 ESV
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
10. Colossians 3:15 ESV
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Being thankful and expressing that thankfulness at first may seem odd, yet as mentioned it is like a muscle. Doing push-ups at first feels odd, but every time you do them, it becomes easier and you can do more. Being thankful clears the mind of stresses and anxiety. Science has shown that choosing to focus on things to be thankful for causes your brain to deal with stresses and anxiety in a healthier way.
Being thankful is a very powerful tool in the fight against depression as well. It is a real struggle to be depressed when you are being thankful, it is very difficult to get to the point of being thankful, but it is so rewarding. When you read the Psalms, you will see that nearly all of the Psalms start with an exclamation of praise or thankfulness. The Psalmists knew that being thankful brings your heart into a place of peace and rest so that you can then, ”…with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)