A few weeks ago, I was waking up blue almost every morning, and I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it’s because I’m dealing with some health issues. Who knows? This emotional yoyo is no stranger to the blues. I am so grateful the Lord has shown me that I don’t have to remain in that negative state of mind.
So, I did what has always worked before—I dusted off my gratitude journal and began anew. Every morning as I began daily devotions with my Lord, I wrote down 5 things for which I was grateful. In less than a week, I started to notice a difference. Once again, an attitude of gratitude lifted my spirits out of the pit. But why does it work? I’m not exactly sure, but here are…
5 Reasons Why Giving Thanks to God Always Lift Our Spirits
1. Enables us to sense His presence more
Consciously thinking about God and what He’s provided makes Him seem more real, that He’s right here with us—not just up there, somewhere. And in His presence, there is joy (Ps 16:11).
2. God blesses obedience
We’re commanded to give thanks (1 Thes 5:18). Obedience always pleases God and He rewards it (Deut 6:3). Plus, knowing I’ve put a smile on Jesus’ face always puts a smile on mine. (How about you?)
3. Shifts our focus…
off ourselves and the negative and puts it on Jesus where it belongs (Heb 3:1, 12:2; Col 3:1-4).
4. Yields the fruit of the Spirit, including joy and peace
Dwelling on the truth about God and His blessings means we’re abiding in Christ the Vine and His joy becomes our joy (See blog: His Joy Will be My Joy).
5. Satisfaction in fulfilling what we were meant to do—praise and worship our Creator.
Our brains are wired by God Himself for this. Science proves that gratitude positively affects the brain. Look at this chart.
Now I must add here, that we cannot simply go through the motions and expect our spirits to be lifted up. Nor can we expect an immediate rescue out of our blues. I’ve found that it often takes repeated attempts before I get victory. But it always works if I persist!
It takes effort to change and engage our brains. But if we know that it’ll work, it’ll be easier put out the effort and choose to thank God. It will be worth it!
So to help you develop a grateful heart here are…
A few practical ways that have worked well for me
1. Keep a gratitude journal:
- Write down 5 things for which you are thankful every day.
- Expand on the reason why you are grateful for it. This technique really gets your appreciation going! (See tool)
- Use your ABC’s to stimulate your mind. (I just started doing this one and it’s been fun!) For example, beginning with each letter of the alphabet, think about an attribute of God, something you appreciate about someone, or anything for that matter!
2. Count your blessings—literally, specifically, and even out loud.
3. Write a gratitude letter to someone
4. Write a gratitude letter to God
5. At the first awareness of negativity in your heart and mind, stop and turn it around by choosing gratitude!
Happy Thanksgiving my friends! I hope you will choose to use that beautiful brain of yours to develop a more grateful heart tomorrow and every day!
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:18)
(NIV) The Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV. ® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.