Gratitude is the one of the best remedies to discouragement.
“What I have found is that the rhythm of divine renewal beats in the pulse of a purposefully grateful heart” (Ellen Vaughn, Radical Gratitude).
I need divine renewal when my heart is despondent. I need to be reminded of the connection between divine renewal and a thankful heart.
Someone warned that it’s a sign of mediocrity when you express gratitude with moderation. But when we “engage in the perpetual dialogue of gratitude,” we “turn the tide, rather than follow along on the lazy downward spiral of negativity.”
Of course, “Cultivating a grateful heart is not just an add-on nicety, a civil tip of the hat to God as we steamroll through our day. A posture of purposeful, perpetual thanks to God is absolutely central to Christian character” (Vaughn).
Some find it hard to be thankful because of the suffering and difficulties they have experienced. Life in a fallen world can be cruel and painful. It is hard to “give thanks in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18). How can we give thanks when we hurt so much?
C. S. Lewis wisely recommended that, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is ‘good,’ because it is good, if ‘bad’ because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.”
If we lose a thankful heart in our suffering, we double our loss.
I suggest three categories for practicing thanksgiving: spiritual, relational, and material blessings. Make a list under each one.
- “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
- “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
- “…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).