I am really tempted to unleash one of my “Top 10 Things I’m Thankful For” lists on you again this year. But since I like you, I’ve decided to spare you! But I do want the idea of thankfulness to highlight that God’s commands are always good for us. He commands us to be thankful. Don’t believe me? Listen to this: Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess 5:18). Not a lot of wiggle room there. But did you know that psychologists have conducted research that “proves” being thankful is good for you? Here are some of the benefits they have identified. Grateful people…
- take better care of themselves physically and mentally
- engage in more protective health behaviors and maintenance
- get more regular exercise
- eat a healthier diet
- have improved mental alertness
- schedule regular physical examinations with their doctors
- cope better with stress and daily challenges
- feel happier and more optimistic
- avoid problematic physical symptoms
- have stronger immune systems
- maintain a brighter view of the future.
So, doing as God says and being thankful is good for us. We all know that’s relatively easy to do when things are going well. What advice is there for us when things are not going so well. Here is what I have picked up from the giants around me over the years on how to be thankful in difficult times…
- Focus on the people in your life not the circumstances of your life. The loving people in our lives are some of God’s greatest gifts.
- Focus on what you have, not on what you’ve lost or what others might have. Grief and gratitude are not mutually exclusive, but grief and envy can blind us to the current blessings in our lives.
- Focus on the spiritual, not the tangible. Even in difficult times we can experience the blessings of God’s presence.
- Focus on what God has done. Knowing we have salvation as a gift from God via faith should always prompt gratitude in us.
Happy Thanksgiving. I pray you will fully enjoy the fruit of being thankful.