It’s been rattling around in my head all week. I’ve been racking my brain trying to recall where I heard it. . . . . and it’s just not coming. But somewhere recently I heard someone talk about what they considered to be the healthiest of all human emotions. Here it is:
Maybe the idea stuck with me because of my recent new habit–the practice of recording my daily blessings in a gratitude journal. (If you missed it, check out my last blog post.)
So what do you think? Is it true? Is gratitude the healthiest human emotion?
The Apostle Paul thought it was a good thing. In fact he said it was God’s will for every Christian:
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Paul also said it’s part of the antidote for worry:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” Philippians 4:6-7
Those are two pretty strong recommendations for the practice of gratitude. I’ll have to add my agreement, too. Practicing gratitude gets us outside of ourselves to look for good. It reminds us of God’s amazing, unfailing love for us. It humbles us, helping us to be kinder and gentler with those around us.
As I’ve been more intentional about noticing and being thankful for the blessings God pours into my life, it seems like the blessings multiply. Everywhere I turn I see God’s hand at work. And my heart overflows with gratitude.
Is that really the case? Does gratitude bring more blessing? Or is it just a result of paying attention? Like when you’re first pregnant and it seems like everywhere you look there are pregnant women. Or when you get a new car and every car on the street is just like yours.
Either way, it’s a good thing. Whether God rewards gratitude with more blessings, or our hearts expand to see His hand everywhere when we’re paying attention–I’ll take it. With gratitude.
Whatever you want to call it–counting blessings, looking on the bright side, being grateful–it’s all good. And healthy. And life-changing in the best possible way. At least it has been for me.
It doesn’t mean the difficult things in our circumstances miraculously disappear. The problems and challenges are still there. (Unfortunately, when we focus on those they seem to multiply, too.)
That’s probably why Paul continued his instruction to say this:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
I’m praying for you today. Wishing you good thoughts and many blessings.