Key Verse: Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
“A thankful heart is a happy heart.” “There’s always something to be thankful for.” These and other cliché sayings often sat in my mind, usually bordering on annoying me. I’m a happy person, I’m thankful for my life and those around me. I had struggles like everyone, sometimes more than others, often considerably less. Then, there was that one year.
My family and I had uprooted, following what we knew God had called us to. It didn’t end as we thought it should, and we moved home in disappointment, hurt, and an anticipation that we were heading into a year of transition. That year, each week increasingly got worse. From trouble at home, to chaos at work, to sickness, to death, to more intense chaos at work, leading me to want to give up on the career I had wanted since I was a child; I ended the year with an intense feeling of failure and distress.
As I tried to make sense of everything going on around me, my attitude and general every day feeling became worse and worse. I finally thought about the thankful clichés and wondered if there was any validity to it. I had seen many people, during the month of November, write something they were thankful for each day. I decided to test it out and see if there was anything to the idea of being thankful. I committed to a year of thankfulness. Each day, I would write one thing that I was thankful for, big or small.
The first week or so was easy and surprisingly fun! It made me happy to think of something that I was thankful for and share it online. I was amazed at how much better I felt that week. The first time that something really set me off and frustrated me, I chose to not dwell on that feeling. Instead, I sat at the computer, refused to give attention to my negative feeling, and typed everything I could think of to be thankful for. There were a few big things and many small things, down to a book, a food, or something sweet one of my children had said. I didn’t stop typing until the negative feeling was gone, and I was smiling. To my amazement, thankfulness had worked! I could not believe how much better I felt!
The consistent act of being thankful changed me. The refusal to acknowledge my frustration, anger, or other negative emotion and first begin with thankfulness changed the way I approached situations. I soon began to view situations differently; I began to handle them in a more successful, solution-oriented manner. It was a process, but a process worth going through that brought a result I never imagined. When the year was up, I couldn’t stop. I made the habit of verbalizing at least one thing from my day that I could be thankful for. I became the cliché that used to annoy me! My thankful heart definitely made a happy heart! 😉
As I began to explore my transformation, to my surprise, I noticed that all this time I had been oblivious to the obvious clues God had left in His word regarding thankfulness. I knew Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I remembered not to be anxious, instead pray. I didn’t always do it, and I had completely skipped over the “with thanksgiving” part. Apparently, focusing on the issues around me was working better for me!
As I dug, there were more and more verses. There are so many different places throughout the Old and New Testament that talk about thankfulness and the benefit for us. Here is my favorite one, the one I wish I would have learned, memorized, and guided my life by from an early age. Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” The PEACE of Christ, PEACE, exactly what I had been missing. I was missing it, and I wasn’t allowing it to rule in my heart. We are all created with emotions. Sometimes we allow those emotions to rule and control how we act, react, and carry on. When we are thankful, we can learn to take control of those emotions. We still feel them, but they won’t rule, peace will.
My prayer for you is that you will allow peace to rule your heart. I challenge you to make a conscious effort to be thankful this week. Each day, find something to be thankful for, anything. Attempt to be thankful for something before you give attention to a negative emotion or situation. Share your thankful with all of us at Titus II Women. Post it on our page here. Share what you are thankful for, every day. Read what others are thankful for, and see how it changes your hour, day, week, and life!
Dear God, THANK YOU for who You are. Thank You for Your relentless love for each of us. Thank You for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You for being concerned about all parts of my life. Please bless each person that reads this, help them to allow Your peace to RULE in their heart. Help each person to be thankful every day and reap the benefits of Your peace. Thank You for loving us. Amen.