The condensed version of this post is on the “Compassion That Compels” blog. Please visit and encourage my sweet friend, Kristianne Stewart, in her mission to bring hope to women battling cancer. You can give the gift of prayer, donate a Compassion Bag, shop with Dayspring and Altar’D State from the website, and follow her and her BEAUTIFUL ONES on social media. You can also designate “Compassion that Compels”as your charity of choice through AmazonSmile.
“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 The Message
Have you noticed? There’s a Gratitude Movement sweeping the world. Books, journals, blogs, home décor…everywhere you look there is another reminder to be thankful.
“Because I said so!” I dreaded hearing that response from my parents as I questioned some seemingly unfair decision they had made about my social interactions. And of course the day came when I heard myself saying the exact same words to my children. My children say the same phrase to their children, but with an additional ending….”I need you to trust that we know what is best for you.” Not speaking out of impatience or anger…they are teaching my grandchildren to respect authority and to learn to trust their Heavenly Father.
When life becomes dark and difficult and seemingly unfair, our Father God has provided a way for us to respond so we are not crippled and destroyed by toxic emotions, fear, and cynicism. He directs us to His Word as we learn to trust that He knows what is best for us.
“A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 Amplified Bible
“A cheerful disposition is good for your health – gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.” The Message
Apparently, being thankful is healthy and healing to our entire being….body, soul, and spirit. The choice is ours. Our personal happiness is our responsibility. We decide what to fill our lives and minds with.
Even the scientific and medical fields are trumpeting the benefits of being thankful. Harvard Health Publications had this to say in a newsletter titled, “In Praise of Gratitude”. “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Forbes Magazine shares this…”We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.”
The word ‘thanks’ expresses a grateful feeling, an appreciation and acknowledgement of all that is good in our lives. That awareness leads us into enjoying our lives, being able to focus on the present, cherishing every moment. We then become ‘ful’…filled to the brim, overflowing and able to spread joy into the lives of others without fear of want or lack. Finally, we step over into ‘-ness’, which denotes a quality and state of being. Our character, our attitudes, and our frame of mind are steeped in grace and thank–ful-ness.
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4:8 The Message
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Proverbs 18:21 The Message
What might you be feasting on…life or death? What captivates your mind…truth or falsehood?
You can start anew today! Simply pick up a journal, a pen, and begin to write down the things you are thankful for. Become part of the Gratitude Movement. Splash grace on those around you by telling them how much you love and appreciate them. Speak words of life. Create an environment of peace around you by intentionally living a lifestyle of being thankful.