One of the best ways to live that delightful life we are called to live, is being thankful. But, there are times in our lives when the good things God has done for us can become overshadowed by our worries and cares. In those moments, we tend to forget all the ways He has provided for us in the past.
That is why cultivating a lifestyle of thanksgiving to God is of vital importance. Thanksgiving opens a pathway for us to receive what God has for us. Our God is a loving Father who enjoys giving gifts to us, but we must appropriate them by faith. Giving thanks for what God has done in our past increases our faith to receive what He has planned for us.
This is why 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says it is God's will is for you to be thankful and to continually give thanks.
in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Here are five steps you can take to become a person who has a thankful heart that continually gives thanks to God.
- Create an atmosphere of praise and thanksgiving around you. Become more conscious of what you are allowing into your "eye gates and ear gates". What we see and hear goes down into our hearts. This has a tremendous impact on our thanksgiving level. Luke 6:45 says what you say flows from what is in your heart. So what are you putting into your heart? Choose wisely, make intentional decisions about what you see and hear. Find ways to steer conversations around you into a blessing, not cursing. We can create an atmosphere where God is welcome. Then He can move in our homes, our businesses, our cities, and our country
Look for God's blessings every day .
Make it a practice to identify God's blessing every day. The more you look for them, the more of them you will see.
As I enjoy my coffee on the porch, I've started looking for God's handiwork and thanking Him for it. At first, I saw flowers that weren't thriving, a tree branch that I hadn't picked up, and a shed about to fall over. But as I started to look for God's blessings, I began to see them. That tree branch was a playground for the squirrels, and that shed was home to a family of birds. The bees didn't care if the flowers were thriving; they were still being fed. I noticed the sun shining through a neighbors tree, and the leaves fell down as a bit of wind blew. As I saw it and thanked the Father for it, it became a sign to me. It was the glory of God shining down and raining blessing upon the earth. If I hadn't been looking, I would have missed an encouraging message for Him that day.
Keep you thoughts in control. We can't control the thoughts that cross our minds, but we can control what to allow to stay and meditate about.
8 So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.
Philippians 4:8 The Passion Translation
Have accountability people around you who will help keep you on track. For some reason, we don't see ourselves clearly. We don't hear the words coming out of our mouths. Having people around you who will let you know when you stray into an area of un-thankfulness is a great help in raising your level of thankfulness. My husband, Steve, is my accountability person. He gently (or not) reminds me to adjust my attitude when I start down the path of "woe is me" and unthankfulness. Find people you trust and tell them you are trying to create a more thankful attitude and atmosphere around you. Give them permission to tell you when you need to adjust to a more thankful attitude.
- Keep a blessing journal. Writing down the blessings you see and receive is a great help when it is hard to see those blessings around you. When you have them written down, you can go back and review what God has already done. This will produce thankfulness in us if we allow it, which opens a pathway for us to receive more of what God has for us. Another reason to keep a journal is it can help you sleep better. According to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, spending 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed may help you sleep better and longer. Your journal also becomes a great testimony and legacy to leave for future generations.
This year's Thanksgiving Challenge: A Thankful Heart.
I am challenging myself (and you) to look for the things to be thankful for. I invite you to join the challenge, encourage others, and leave a comment to share what you are thankful for. I'll be using #athankfulheart and posting on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month.
What are you thankful for today?