Col 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
1 Thes 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus
- It doesn't say delight in our circumstances, but in whatever our circumstances are, we are to still be thankful and to take delight in the Lord.
- We’re always going to have things to be thankful for, no matter how hard things get. At the very very minimum, we have God’s love and sacrifice to be thankful for. But there are always so many other little blessings that we take for granted and overlook.
Your thoughts affect how you feel, which can affect you physically and spiritually. When I started paying more attention to the little things in my life, it made a huge difference in how I felt overall.
Something a past mentor of mine once shared:
“As humans we seldom think of what we have, and seem to always think about what we don't have. For most people their life is about 80 to 90% good, but what do many people focus on ...the 10% to 20% that is bad or missing, or not the way they would like it to be. If you focus most of your energy on the 10% of your life that isn't working …you make your entire life feel miserable and unfulfilling. If you begin to focus on the 90% or so that is good and become thankful and grateful for what’s working… and begin to work on the 10% you are not happy with …. this effort will change your life, and decrease your anxiety and stress.”
I think that being grateful is a discipline and a habit that starts to form after practicing. The more you do it, the more you will find joy in the simplest of things.
[I then invited others to participate in a short activity]
Activity: Take some time to fill a whole page, single spaced, of all the things you are thankful for. But try to focus on the smaller things that you wouldn’t normally think about. For example, everyone knows you’re grateful for your spouse, friends, family, etc. While you can still write about those, I want to encourage you to think of littlest of things in your life that would normally be taken for granted.
Was it that you had a delicious cup of coffee this morning?
Or that you heard some birds chirping outside your window this morning?
Or that you got to sleep in for just a couple extra minutes?
Be specific, try not to just say that “I’m grateful for my friends”. Notice the little details.