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Gratitude – why is it so hard?

How naturally does the word “thanks” come to you? For some, it’s a habit. For others, it’s occasional.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

The Bible says to give thanks in ALL circumstances. Can we really do that? It is natural to be grateful when something good happens to us but when something bad happens, it seems almost impossible. When we are suffering, it is reasonable to feel disappointed and discouraged, but such feelings can keep us fixated ONLY on what is going wrong in our life.

That incident ruined my life. It all went downhill from there. Bad things always happen to me.

How many of us are guilty of such thoughts? It’s true we shouldn’t live in denial, but being pessimistic can make us blind to our blessings and consumed by our problems. The danger of pessimism is that it can keep you imprisoned in a season of despair by making you dependent on the outcome of your situation. Gratitude sets you free by changing your perspective.

Being grateful does not mean we should pretend we don’t have problems. It means we are choosing to give thanks in spite of our problems.

What should we thank God for when we are suffering? Start small. When we cannot find any reason to thank God, thank Him for the littlest things you have; like a new day, a good night’s rest, a home, a warm meal, electricity. When we do this we are reminded of how many things we actually have and how richly God has blessed us. Being grateful shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have.

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