Spiritual Growth and Encouragement for Christian Women

5 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your Gratitude

5 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your Gratitude

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude will change your life.

That’s a bold statement but it’s backed up by science, experience and God’s Word.

Studies show that giving thanks actually changes our brain. Practicing gratitude has been shown to make us happier, sleep better, stress less, and even recover from certain illnesses more quickly.

I’ve seen incredible benefits of gratitude in my own experience. After my husband died and I became a sudden widow and single mom, I desperately needed to see good when life felt so bad.

I began intentionally thanking God each day. And while my circumstances didn’t change, my heart did.

I began to see God’s hand all around me. I saw His personal and practical love for me. I realized that even in my deep loss I’d been greatly blessed, and I began to treasure the simple, ordinary things in life.

Of course, the results of studies and experience shouldn’t surprise us because the Bible is full of verses that tell us about the power of gratitude.

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Scriptures about Gratitude

Scriptures about Gratitude

Here are just a few verses that show us the benefits of giving thanks:

  • Gratitude keeps us in God’s will. “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • Gratitude helps us see God’s hand. “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:16-17
  • Gratitude brings us peace in difficult circumstances.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
  • Gratitude brings us joy. “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3
  • Gratitude glorifies God. “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:15

Despite all these benefits, the primary reason we should give God thanks is because He commands it. It’s a mark of obedience and should characterize the life of every believer. We give thanks because we love God, way more than the gifts He gives us. Let’s look at 5 ways to supercharge gratitude.

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1. Keep a Daily Gratitude List

1. Keep a Daily Gratitude List

This is one of the best ways I’ve found to practice daily gratitude. Each morning, before my Bible reading, I open my gratitude journal and number down the left-hand margin. Then I think back over the last day: Where did I see God’s hand? Were there small surprises? Did God provide in some way or answer a prayer?

You'll be amazed at all of the small and big ways God is taking care of you and the ones you love. Can't think of anything? Job 33:4 reminds us that the very breath you are breathing right now comes from God. Start there. 

Keeping a gratitude list forces us to stop and look at what God is doing in our life. It helps us capture all that God is doing, so that we can thank Him now and remember it for years to come. Recording what we’re thankful for before we pray helps us thank God before asking Him to meet our needs.

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2. Give Thanks in Frustrations and Difficulties

2. Give Thanks in Frustrations and Difficulties

A few weeks ago, I was reading in bed when a pipe suddenly burst in my bathroom, spewing water like a geyser. I called my kids to help and while one frantically tried to stop it, I ran into the pitch-black outside to shut the water off at the well. The floor was flooded and we had no water until it could be capped the next day.

Yes, it was frustrating late on Sunday night to clean up a mess and go without water. But we had so much to be thankful for.

I had been home when it happened, I was able to shut the water off and despite the torrential gushing, the water hadn’t reached the carpet. Even in difficulty, there is always something to be thankful for.

Giving thanks in frustrating and difficult circumstances shifts our perspective to focus on the good and helps us realize God’s constant protection and provision.

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3. Pray for Gratitude

3. Pray for Gratitude

This sounds simple enough, but how many of us ask God to help us be more grateful? We’re more likely to come to God with our wish list of needs.

Can you imagine the work God could do in us if every day for two weeks, we asked God to help us become more grateful?

Since God’s will for us is to give thanks in all things, it’s a prayer God will always answer! John Piper says “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”

We don’t have to live like that. We can ask God to open our eyes to all He’s doing so that we don’t miss it and can thank Him for it.

Jesus modeled thankfulness. He thanked God for the loaves before multiplying them to feed the multitude. He thanked God for listening to Him before raising Lazarus from the dead. And at the Last Supper, before breaking the bread symbolizing His broken body, Jesus gave thanks.

If Jesus gave thanks in all things, we ought to ask God to make us thankful as well.

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4. Create Stones of Remembrance

4. Create Stones of Remembrance

We are forgetful people. When God does something big, answering a huge prayer or providing a huge need, we think we’ll never forget. And then we do. Life moves on and we fail to remember and thank God for His great works.

Fortunately, God knows this about us. God established Passover so that Israel would annually remember how God had rescued Israel from Egypt and how He’d redeemed the firstborn of every home through the blood of the lamb.

Later, when God miraculously parted the flood-stage Jordan River so that all of Israel could cross over to the Promised Land, God commanded one man from each of the 12 tribes to pick up a stone from the middle of the Jordan riverbed. Joshua placed those 12 stones in Gilgal as a memorial so that generations to come would never forget what God had done.

We can create memorial stones to remember the great things God has done for us. In our family, we bought some smooth landscape stones and wrote significant dates and details of great things God has done for us. These are sitting in a bowl in the living room so that we never forget to thank God for all He’s done for us.

What can you do to help you remember? 

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5. Don’t Wait to Give Thanks

5. Don’t Wait to Give Thanks

Our culture relegates gratitude to one season a year. But we don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving each year to cultivate gratitude. Opportunities to be grateful are all around us. We can start in our own families.

Since my children are learning about gratitude from me, I need to tell them thank you authentically when they do their chores or help me with a task. After a day trip or weekend away, we’ll often go around and say what we most enjoyed and what we’re most thankful for.

We can also thank those around us. A note of thanks to our pastor, youth leader or the preschool coordinator at church would go a long way in their sometimes underappreciated service. We can thank the cashier at check out, the waiter or the receptionist in the doctor’s office.

Finally, we shouldn’t wait to thank the people in our life who’ve impacted us. In the years since my husband died, so many have ministered to us in various ways. I’ve often thought of having a gathering after the last of my kids graduates high school, to thank those who’ve helped along the way.

But I now see there’s no reason to wait to give thanks. Now is a great time to begin writing notes to thank those who’ve helped and prayed for us in countless ways over the last few years.

Lisa Appelo is a speaker and author who inspires women to anchor deep faith and find hope in the hard. She’s a widow and single mom to 7, passionate about rich Bible study and teaches a weekly ladies Bible class at her church. Find her encouragement for faith, grief and hope at LisaAppelo.com and subscribe for a free 30-day Bible reading plan and gratitude journal.

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