Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
How can we have a grateful heart when we feel like we’ve failed, let others down, feel hopeless, and hurt? Well, I think we’ve all found ourselves experiencing a life’s devastating situation or not close to God’s presence in one season or another in our lives. The good news is that God’s love is never ending, and it goes deeper than the warmth of a fire, latte, or cozy sweater. His love in unfailing, and never ceases. The other good news is that seasons change and don’t last forever. Just like God created summer, spring, fall, and winter, so do the seasons of our lives change. Ecclesiastes says that there is a time and purpose for every season under heaven. I encourage you to find peace, joy, and fulfillment right where you are. No, you may not “feel” it right away. But, God is calling us all to a deeper place in our walk with Him. A place where no matter what our external circumstances may be we choose to trust in Him and His promises for our lives.
If times are sweet be thankful, slow down and take it all in. Give yourself permission to appreciate the season of reprieve and give out of the abundance of your heart. It’s not a time for you to feel guilty, but for you to gain strength and gratitude. After all, you most likely came out of a season of stretching, breaking down, and pruning. But know that it’s not a place to become complacent or stagnant in your relationship with God. A big part of coming to a place of maturity in Christ is receiving all that He paid the price for you. The Bible says that we are to ask and receive. Receiving takes opening up and positioning ourselves in a vulnerable place. The good news is that we are surrendering to a love that does not hurt, disappoint, abandon, or punish.
If you find yourself in a season of drought, brokenness, hopelessness, hurt, or disappointment know that God wants to reveal himself as your provider, healer, deliver, and comforter. Your circumstances don’t define you who are. You are a child of God and your steps are ordered by the Lord to bring you closer to him and fuller of compassion, wisdom, and gratitude. We walk by faith and not by sight. Sometimes, we may feel paralyzed, still, crawling, or taking baby steps. But, the key is to keep your eyes on Him and focus on being thankful. When we’re going through and feel stuck one of the best ways to take a step forward is to choose to be grateful for what we do have and reach beyond ourselves and help someone else. We truly find who we are in Christ when we lose ourselves in service to others. When we step out on faith our feelings will eventually follow. Let us all go on to maturity in Christ and be a thankful people. We have hope in the form of Jesus. If we just stop right now, take a deep breath, close our eyes and focus on Christ the love of God will immediately flood our souls and fill us with a renewed since of gratitude. Remind yourself of how valuable you are to your Heavenly Father, and be confident that no matter what season you’re in God is grateful for you. He called you by name, He knows the very numbers of hairs on your head, and He has great things in store for you.
Last year I found this idea and wanted to start instilling in my children a grateful heart. Our family had just come out of what seemed like a never ending wilderness season. It was time for a shift in all of our attitudes. My son and I went outside and hunted down a perfect tree branch, painted it gold, and cut out these leaf templates. Every day we would write down something we were thankful for, or go do something for someone to show them we were grateful for them. It changed the whole atmosphere in our home and filled all of our hearts with appreciation for each other and life’s little moments. I encourage you to start this tradition with your family and watch how God moves in your life when you choose to be grateful. We all long for a deeper sense of purpose and an overwhelming need to show gratitude and be appreciated. The power of “thank you” moves mountains. There is purpose in our pain, we have to put total faith and trust in God that He is working ALL things together for our good.
Here are a few things to get an “attitude of gratitude adjustment”:
• Worship- you can change the atmosphere in your home when you turn on worship music and focus on adoring your Creator.
• Word- God’s word is life giving, healing, and freeing. Spend time each day renewing your mind with His promises for your life. Speak Life! Say it out loud, I am thankful. Tell others that you are thankful for them. Our words are very powerful and frame our world.
• Wellness- Sometimes our attitude can stink when we don’t feel well. Lace up your sneakers get outside, move your body, and fuel it with good nutrition. Give yourself permission to enjoy some holiday treats, but don’t sabotage healthy habits during this season of indulgence.
• Service- Take the focus off what you don’t have or what’s going wrong and help encourage someone else who’s going through a tough time. Self-pity will flee and your heart will flood with gratitude.
• Don’t Compare- The bible says it’s foolish to compare ourselves with others. Our whole attitude can change by the glance of one facebook post or Instagram pic. Be thankful for your life, be happy for others, and live your life with a grateful heart.
Dear Heavenly Father, I lift up whoever may be reading this devotional and thank you for flooding their hearts, homes, marriages, and families with the spirit of thanksgiving. May they feel your presence like never before and hear your still small voice with confidence and clarity. Reveal yourself this season and meet them right where they are. Be their comforter, healer, friend, way maker, joy, peace, and hope. In Jesus Name, Amen.
I am Courtney Dawn Shaw and #IAMThankful
Author, Founder of Fit2BeFree, Speaker, Minister, Certified Personal Trainer, TV Host, and the reigning Mrs. Florida America. She has worked with clients and churches over the last 10+years, encouraging and inspiring them to live free and healthy lives from the inside out. Her life experience of overcoming body image issues, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and a near death experience brought her to a place of brokenness and surrender to God. With years of experience in the fitness industry, she has been given a clear revelation and message on where true value, beauty, and health come from. http://www.fit2-bfree.com/