Feeling grumpy, discouraged, disappointed or just plain grouchy? Perhaps you need a dose of gratitude.
Paul tells to give thanks in everything. I’m not feeling it. But being joyful and grateful has nothing to do with feelings. I chatted with an 88-yr-old retired pastor yesterday. He had health problems out the wazoo. However, he wisely said, “You can choose to be joyful!”
If anyone had a right to complain, it was he!
So what is your gratitude quotient, and how do you measure up? Nancy Leigh DeMoss, founder of Revive Our Hearts, inspired me to take this challenge. I created my own “happy recipe.” How can you and I become grateful in a week?
Focus on the character of God, not on yourself.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NIV
Sounds easy enough. Well, it’s not. Most of us have a skewed view of our Creator. We feel He is demanding, judgmental and mostly disappointed in us. We wake up and assume our Heavenly Father is thinking, “What kind of mischief is he/she going to get into today?” That will make anyone frustrated.
The truth is, God longs to commune and comfort us. When we open our bleary eyes and our hairy toes are still warmed under the covers, God joyfully cries, “He’s awake! She’s awake!” That should give you a dose of joy juice.
“The Lord your God is with you…He will take great delight in you…He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Remember the good times. “Count your blessings, name them one by one….” A cliché? Corny song. Great idea. And it came from God’s Word, the Psalms specifically.
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” Psalms 77:11 NIV
Your day may be stinky right now, but God has shown Himself faithful in the past. Recall when He answered a prayer or intervened on your behalf.
I didn’t remember my childhood for most of my life. Weird, huh? But one day, God pressed rewind on my brain and I could remember my past. Every detail. I even wrote a book about my amazing childhood. The Holy Spirit can “call everything into remembrance…” And you will cherish those tidbits of treasure from your past.
Hump day. The day in the middle of the week when Friday looms ahead and Monday was mundane. Today, look at the little details of your day. Notice the people God brings across your path (good, bad or ugly). These dear souls are Divine appointments. See how God can show Himself in your relationships. Glance at the photos on your desk or shelf. Your loved ones can bring you delight. Appreciate God’s handiwork in others.
The apostle Paul said:
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…” Philippians 1: 3-4a NIV
“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1.NIV
Peer outside your window. You may see a parking lot, but somewhere you will observe a ray of sunshine, a cloud, a glorious tree, bird or flower. “Stop and smell the roses” is an oft-quoted phrase, but is pregnant with meaning. We rush by God’s glory in nature. Hectic racing, over-commitment and poor planning makes our daily lives a blur. Stop. Look around you. Every tree, flower, bird was embroidered by God. See them. Cherish them. Let them cheer you.
Now say something. Say it often. “repeated thanks”-what a concept! Say it to someone else.
“But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone.” Psalm 109:30 NLV
People seldom say “thank you” anymore! God blesses US. Be grateful. Tell Him. Tell your friends.
Laundry day. Soccer practice. Honey-Do chores. Go ahead. Make your grocery list. Then, take a few moments to sit down with your Bible and consider some of the Psalms “thankful” verses. Each one can teach you something about learning the art of being appreciative and contented: Psalm 28:7, Psalm 48:4, Psalm 75:1. Read ‘em. Ruminate on what they say. Write your thoughts down. Stick a post-it note on your bathroom mirror with a special verse to remind you of God’s love when you brush your teeth (and floss, of course).
This is the hard part. Not for musicians, but for run-of-the-mill ordinary folks. God asks us to sing to Him. A lot.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High.” Psalm 92:1 NIV
Warble until you’re hoarse. God doesn’t care how you sound. And, by the way, don’t wait to go into your church service until the worship is over. Who cares if the music “isn’t your style,” if it is too loud, too soft, sharp or flat. God asks you to worship. You. Be glad in God. Be noisy. Jump around. Cheer and shout. You don’t have to be a Holy Roller to do it. King David did, and God loved him for it!
Get rid of the grumpies. You can change. You can become grateful in a week. Give it a try and God will bless you for it.