An attitude of gratitude is something we all need to have and be able to teach our children. We know that being thankful has physiological benefits, but it’s also good for our mental health and happiness. It is especially important for those of us with faith to practice gratefulness.
We know the scriptures talk about giving thanks in all circumstances. That can be challenging when we are going through a crisis. We need to be more disciplined and persevere when things don’t go to plan. If we connect to our Heavenly Father, then it actually helps us navigate our circumstances.
God Wants Us To Be Grateful
Brett and Kate Ryan from Focus on the Family recently joined us on Rise & Shine to talk about how maintaining gratitude is a command from God for believers. We should be the most grateful people in the world! God himself has told us clearly, through His Word, that He wants us to be grateful.
‘In hindsight you can be grateful for things,’ says Kate. ‘I had a car accident, and I was grateful that He kept me safe. But the things He did while I was bedridden, I would never take back. Hindsight can help us see that.’
What God wants to do through our circumstances is greater and more beneficial than we could ever imagine. But we know that psychologists and counsellors encourage people who are going through a stressful time to journal what they can be grateful for.
‘We can focus on all the things that are going wrong,’ says Brett, ‘but we need to be disciplined and think about what’s going right. And when we do that, it takes the emphasis away from the problem. You can look for things to be grateful for.’
God Is Always Working
It’s important that we find gratitude in the simple things too. If we’ve got a roof over our head, food to eat and clothes to wear, we can’t take that for granted. Sometimes we need a timely reminder of how blessed we actually are.
‘I think it’s really important to write down what God has done for us across our lives,’ says Kate. ‘Because when there’s a period of silence and you feel like God’s doing nothing, He’s working behind the scenes.’
God is always working, and we need to be able to look back and see what He has done. When we have those moments in life, we need to write them down so we can remind ourselves of His faithfulness, His goodness and the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us.
‘For Kate and I, when we’ve gone through a really hard time,’ says Brett, ‘we’ve had to actually focus our attention on God’s blessings rather than the circumstances. That just releases the burden of it, because we’re realising we can’t do it in our own strength, but God can.’
Turn to Scripture
It can also be beneficial to find some scriptures that talk about the issues we’re facing. That helps us to build our faith. The more you focus on God’s truth, the less you focus on your problems. Whatever you feed your soul and your mind is going to be the winner.
‘There are little things in every day,’ says Kate. ‘Like the sun coming out just when I was talking to God and feeling low. That can be the little reminder to me that He’s there and He’s listening.’
‘It doesn’t matter what it is. It will just be something very particular to you.’
Listen to Brett and Kate’s full interview on Rise & Shine below: