Grateful: thankful, appreciative, indebted, obliged, obligated, in someone's debt, beholden.
On January 15, a Facebook friend posted an invitation to join her in the Gratitude Project. For 30 days participants were to post three things for which they were grateful. Gratitude would certainly be something I needed to increase in my life, as all too often I only notice the negative, grumbling about situations, and forgetting all that I have to be thankful for. Realizing this to be a true weakness in my character, I accepted the challenge and posted almost daily between January 16 and February 22. What I learned in those 35 days astounded me.
Because I was accountable for posting three items each day, I started looking for things I could be grateful for. Certainly I wanted to be thankful for some of the temporal "things" in my life or for praiseworthy situations, but more importantly, I wanted to be appreciative for the more meaningful aspects of my life: the people, the blessings God has given me as His child, the precious moments too often lost in the busyness of life. My perspective quickly changed from focusing on the negative to becoming aware of all the positive, from minute blessings to dramatic events. Even when presented with challenges and unpleasant circumstances, I chose to look for the good that could come of it. As the days passed, I realized that gratitude was becoming a habit.
I also delved into the Scriptures for what God has to say about the topic. The idea of "thankfulness" permeates the Bible. It's no wonder since the Almighty came up with the idea of gratitude!
Always give thanks to God the Father for everything,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus modeled thankfulness for His disciples.
Then He took the seven loaves and the fish,
and when He had given thanks,
He broke them and gave them to the disciples,
and they in turn to the people.
So they took away [Lazarus's] stone.
Then Jesus looked up and said,
"Father, I thank you that you have heard me."
My thanksgiving will be a testimony to others.
Give thanks to the Lord,
call on His name;
make known among the nations what He has done.
1 Chronicles 16:8
I should start and end my days expressing gratitude to God.
They were also to stand every morning
to thank and praise the Lord.
They were to do the same in the evening.
1 Chronicles 23:30
Appreciation for God's protection and goodness can only lead to giving thanks.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to Him in song.
My ungrateful heart leads to useless thoughts.
For although they knew God,
they neither glorified Him as God
nor gave thanks to Him,
but their thinking became futile
and their foolish hearts were darkened.
I'm to replace my worry with thanksgiving, and God will guard my heart with His peace.
Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything, by prayer and petition,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Regardless of what comes my way during the day, I am to offer thanks for it.
Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
The Gratitude Project turned out to be a huge blessing. How can that be, offering thanks to someone ending up blessing me? It's because that's how God works! Whenever we obey Him and offer Him the praise and worship He deserves, we end up being blessed over and above anything we could ask.
Reviewing what I posted that month reminded me of events and experiences I enjoyed during those 35 days. What an awesome testimony of God's goodness! I've decided to continue looking for ways to offer daily thanks to the Lord and to record them in a special section of my Quiet Time journal. I still have a lot to learn about thankfulness and opening my eyes to see the blessings that are usually right under my nose.
I will give thanks to the Lord
because of His righteousness
and will sing praise to the name
of the Lord Most High.
(Remember to turn off the playlist at the bottom of this page to listen to this video.)
For the family,