I recently started a gratitude journal after being inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
About a week ago, I was in a rut of whining and complaining to God about how things weren’t going in the direction I thought they would until He directed my eyes to that verse. As I stopped and pondered for a minute, I realized that God has blessed me with so much that I wasn’t seeing because I was taking them all for granted. It’s one thing to be grateful whenever things go our way. But to be thankful in all things, regardless of how they appear is entirely different. God wants us to be grateful no matter what our circumstances are like, not just when things are going well. Circumstances are temporary, they don’t bring us true contentment. True contentment is found in the LORD. The only way to be truly grateful is to keep our eyes on Him. The joy of the LORD is eternal and fulfilling. It helps us from slipping into a state of bitterness, depression, negativity, and self-pity caused by an ungrateful heart. The Bible has tons of verses filled with people praising and thanking God during difficult times. The Psalms is a great place to start.
There are so many things we can thank God for if we just stop and slow down to look around and see the many blessings He’s given us. I think keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to do that. It enables us to reflect on God’s faithfulness and love towards us whenever disappointments and frustrations starts to sink in. I recommend looking through it during your personal worship/quiet time with the Lord. Spend time thanking Him for all you received in your journal. So far, I’ve listed out 182 things to be thankful for in my journal. And I intend to keep filling it up. The goal is to acknowledge our Heavenly Father for who He is and how He’s provided for us during the good and bad. God is so worthy of our praise and thanksgiving!! Here are some examples you can use if you're not sure where to begin:
1. God's salvation
2. Kindness from a stranger
3. Flowers blooming in the backyard
4. The roof over my head
5. Feeding homeless people at the park
6. Visiting my grandparents
And so forth. There is nothing too small or big to praise Him with. I pray that this has triggered an inspiration to do the same. The more you get into the habit of thanking God, the better you see His goodness in your life.
“Every good and perfect gift comes from God.” -James 1:17
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”-Hebrews 13:15
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”-Psalm 100:1-5