“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NLT)
Be thankful in all things. Hmmm…What about the time that my alarm did not go off, I was late for my first day of work, I ran into the new employee orientation where the VP was speaking and it looked like they just made a huge mistake in hiring me? Or how about the Thanksgiving meal where one of my family members dropped an emotional bombshell as we began to eat and then calmly left the room while everyone else started to argue? How about the times I miscarried in my first trimester? These are times when this instruction to be thankful can sting a bit. Why would God say to be thankful during the tough times?
Interestingly enough, there are several research studies that show a correlation between gratitude and well-being. Could it be that God wants us to have an abundant life and therefore wants us to be grateful in order to achieve it? Perhaps God’s motivation in telling us to be grateful in all things is to help us process how loving and good God is, even though we live in a broken world where things go wrong.
If you struggle with being thankful always, you are not alone. I believe God gave us this instruction to help us through our struggles and teach us to reframe the trials and troubles in our lives. How can we reframe the difficult circumstances and find the strength to be thankful through it all?
Sometimes we just need to increase our thankfulness muscle.
4 Ways to Increase Your Thankfulness Muscle:
- Even if nothing else is going right in your life today, rest in the knowledge that by God’s grace you will spend eternity with him. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (NIV).
- Choose to enter God’s presence by thanking him for who he is and all he has done for you. Psalms 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (NIV).
- Decide to consecrate (in other words, dedicate formally for a divine purpose) all of your challenges. 1 Timothy 4:4-5 says, ”For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer,” (NIV). Although the issues or challenges may not be what God created, you are his workmanship, and all your family members are also created by God.
- Think about God’s goodness and his enduring love for you. In the words of Psalms 118:1-2, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: ‘His love endures forever’” (NIV). Choosing to look at God’s love and goodness is not a “natural” choice, but God can and will help you do it. As Psalm 107:28-30 says, “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven” (NASB).