Philippians 4:6,7 - “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Emphasis mine)
How can we cultivate and bring a heart of gratitude with us as we enter our days of work, play, parenting, schoolwork, roommates…?
We (at least I) naturally think about being grateful for the good things in your life. In this verse the context is not sunshine and roses, it is anxiety and struggle - Paul is writing from a jail cell. So what does it look like to be grateful for and in the difficulties and struggles. This requires much more forward gratitude, expectation, hope.
The only way I can really be grateful for the struggle is knowing, believing, hoping that it is producing something even better in me. So, to be grateful in this struggle or difficulty is an act of faith - faith in a loving, pursuing God who is working all things for good, who is loving me in the midst of the struggle – because that’s all He can do, love me. It’s His nature. And the tangible, visceral fruit of this truth is “the peace (shalom) of God” that is beyond my normal, rational understanding; and this shalom stands as the bouncer, the security guard at the door of my heart helping to keep anxiety and worry, which are some of the sour fruit of ingratitude, out where they belong.
Read the Moment:
If I asked a friend or co-worker to describe you, would “grateful” be a part of their answer?
What does your gratitude-meter read right now?
What place does gratitude and thankfulness have in your day-to-day living? Is it a rare commodity to be doled out carefully and prudently? Does it flow freely and generously?
Reflect on the Moment:
Try to identify areas that are hard for you to be grateful in. How might thanking God for them change you?
If Give thanks to the Lord was your job description, what would need to change in your day-to-day life?
Respond to the Moment:
What are a couple of simple ways that you could cultivate and practice gratitude this week? (Maybe begin and end the day with a prayer of gratitude for the day. Set an alarm on your watch to remind you to pause and be mindful and aware and then thankful.)
Ask God - to give you a grateful heart, one that is growing in recognition of God at work in and around you.
Write down/Journal some of the most present thoughts on gratitude and His gifts.