"I will thank the LORD for His righteousness and sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High." ~ Psalm 7:17 (BSB)
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
What would this week be without a conversation on gratitude?
If we look at the secular movement toward life balance, mental health and wellbeing, and the search for being emotionally grounded and vital, the "practice" of gratitude is lauded for lasting effects on the brain, freedom from unhealthy emotions, an access to better physical and psychological wellness, and improved happiness and satisfaction in life among other things. Certainly, nobody denies these results take time, but they're there if one is willing to commit.
What I find interesting is, so many people consider it to be a groundbreaking practice.
Yet, our manual for life speaks to the subject of gratitude in no uncertain terms.
The gratitude itself is woven throughout Scriptures in countless ways, through histories recorded and parables told. But, the Good Book takes it a step beyond and tells us directly, in all things give thanks. It's not quite one of the Big 10, but it feels adjacent.
So, how do we do that? Well, I'm a big believer that it's best to get still and start with the simple things. Thank You, God, for the breath in my lungs. Thank You, God, for the roof over my head. Thank You, God, for the people in my life. Thank You, God, for another sunrise. Thank You, God, for food in my belly. Thank You, God, for the gift of Your Son.
Thank You, God, for the Peace that passes all understanding. Thank You, God, for the gifts of the Spirit. Thank You, God, for writing me into Your story.
Whatever calls to you, go with that. But, maybe try starting with the low-hanging fruit and go from there.
Another thing that helps is to think of something new each time you offer your sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Without novelty, it sometimes becomes a bit of a chore and our minds, hearts, and souls, disconnect a little. It's definitely still valuable to be thankful for the things in our everyday life we're always grateful for and to make them part of that practice.
And, if we get a little silly and creative, it helps elevate the joy and at the same time, builds that authentic sense of gratitude and the practice impacting your neurochemicals. Experiences attached to emotion tend to stick with us more, better, longer.
God did make you that way, He knew it would do all of these things in your brain. I'm guessing that's why it's in the Book, repeatedly.
Sometimes, I'll even go with an assumptive close kind of thank you... Thank You, Father, for the ways you expand my time and effectiveness. Thank You for multiplying my results.
These are things I know I need, daily. Or, maybe I know I'm going to need them in a specific moment. I suppose it's really a prayer of petition. However, in the certainty that He will grant what I've asked for, I pray it out as a prayer of gratitude. Doing this regularly with authenticity makes a very real difference. Science says so, and so does your Creator. Ooh! One other thing I do at night is, when I write in my journal, I'll include three little things, or sometimes big things, three things about that day I'm grateful for. It just helps to shore up the awareness that I am blessed, no matter what is happening in my life, and to ensure the lasting benefits of being thankful in all things, each and every single day.
Thank You for helping us to love You and choose You and be truly authentically grateful for You and Your Creation. Thank You, for helping us see the abundance of blessings in our lives and to give true thanks with a heart overflowing with authentic gratitude. As we approach Thanksgiving, thank You for helping us to reach out to our loved ones as we navigate being together and apart in this time.
For those able to be with their families and friends, may that time be especially blessed this year.
And, for those who cannot, may there be moments of particular blessing, particular moments of the presence of Your Spirit to be a balm to the soul and ease the holiday apart.
We love You. We need You. We are grateful for You.
Thank You, thank You, thank You. In ALL things we give thanks, Heavenly Father.
All this we pray, in the most Holy name of Your Son.
"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Give thanks unto him, and bless his name. For Jehovah is good; his lovingkindness endureth for ever, And his faithfulness unto all generations." ~ Psalm 100:4-5 (ASV)
"Be anxious about nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, surpassing all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:6-7 (BLB)
"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (KJV)
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not neglect to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." ~ Hebrews 13:15-16 (BSB)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise...
By the way, I've had this clip stuck in my head all day, so it seems appropriate to share...