Growing a thankful heart is like a garden that thrives when its watered with praise. Thoughts about gratitude can change a life. A thankful heart is a happy heart and a healthy heart. It’s not the happy people who are thankful, but the thankful people are happy. They give thanks even in bad circumstances.
[tweetshare tweet=”Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.~Oprah Winfrey” username=”$65MB(gRcC6MZjM^hZz)rKLMMWFQkM0j:1:0″]Changing our thoughts about thankfulness will take diligence and focus. If we continue to focus on what’s missing in our life, we end up having less. We can’t change our thoughts overnight. It takes work to study God’s word to find the truth. An attitude change begins when we choose to be thankful.
Many people, including Christians, have trouble with their thought life. Renewing the mind happens when we are diligent and intentional about changing our stinkin’ thinkin’. We don’t want to go through life living on empty barely existing. It’s easy to find reasons to be ungrateful.
First impressions of a person reveal a lot about their thought life. What comes of the mouth is what’s in the heart. What has been a lifestyle of un-thankfulness bubbles out of the mouth.
The scripture says,
“Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:2 NKJV)
When life gets hard and we feel we are thrown in the stormy seas we easily forget the blessings God has bestowed on us. Is there a reason to be thankful when situations are out of control? When we can’t fix the problems? When we feel all alone and no one understands us?
It’s time to remember the goodness of God and how He helped us in the past. We can be thankful that we are still alive, if nothing else.
If we keep our mind on the truth, we remain in peace where we can trust God in every situation.
We don’t need to exchange truth for a lie. What’s the logic behind a deceitful heart that refuses to honour God and show gratitude? Nothing. Dishonouring God makes us confused and empty on the inside.
It’s hard to change our thinking. One way to do this is to find scriptures about thankfulness and say them out loud until you begin to feel thankful. Hearing yourself speak out loud will increase your faith and your heart health.
Houses we did not build
Recently we moved into a new house. Many people have a vision for their dream house, but we’ve never really had an actual dream house even though we’ve lived in dozens of houses, some very nice and others not-so-nice. Maybe it’s because my husband is a realtor and he has seen thousands of houses so it’s not a big deal to him. It’s like the professional forester who chops down trees for a living, but picks out a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. That was my late dad. He couldn’t see the trees from the forest.
The scripture talks about living in houses we did not build. We’ve thought about building a house to suit our tastes. But it never happened although we had purchased the property.
God knew the future
Every morning I wake up a thankful heart. I look around and my heart overflows with gratitude at the goodness of God and His blessings that I don’t deserve. God knows the past, present and future.
Have you ever lived in difficult circumstances where you felt like your life seemed like you were constricted in your own home? Well, I lived that way in our last condo where the restrictions became overwhelming to me. I certainly could not do any physical exercise in fear of making noise nor could my granddaughter have the freedom to run around to her heart’s content.
I wish I could say I was so spiritual that I prayed and thanked God for a new house. No. But God in his mercy showed up and surprised us. I didn’t even have time to let go of my negative thoughts!
Soon we found ourselves living in an almost new single family bungalow beyond our imaginations. Now the blessings were overwhelming! Even if I had a dream house in mind, my wildest imaginations could never have planned what someone else built.
God’s got a sense of humour and His timing is perfect. He knew the future. I didn’t know at the time when I would have my hip surgery and would have to do physiotherapy in the house. Now as I walk and march around freely in my new home, my heart fills with gratitude and my lips breathe praises to God. I no longer live in fear of disturbing my neighbours.
Growing a thankful heart
I have not always been thankful. It has come (still working on it) with a price but it’s worth all the effort to cultivate a thankful heart. I have to be intentional about seeking God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise. Now whenever I resort to complaining (it still happens), my husband reminds me to be thankful.
Growing a thankful heart requires water and nutrition in order to maintain a life of gratitude. It takes diligence and commitment. We can overcome negative feelings by thinking on things that are good. Reading and meditating on the Psalms can nourish a heart of selfishness until our eyes are turned to God who supplies us with blessings and grace that we don’t deserve.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 107:1 ESV)
How about you? What makes up a thankful heart? What experience have you had in growing a thankful heart? What are you thankful for?