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Despite the limitations we have this year, despite the current circumstances, and despite the craziness of our nation…

I want to encourage you to be more grateful and thankful this holiday season. 

First Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT) reminds us, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 

This verse is a command from God telling us to be thankful. You have a choice to make, but I want to encourage you to make the choice to be more grateful and thankful. Be FULL of THANKS to God!  

But remember this––being grateful and thankful aren’t just attitudes we have around Thanksgiving. 

I want to encourage you to put gratitude into practice in your everyday life, so that the joy of the holiday season stays in your heart all year round! It’s important to be grateful and thankful throughout the entire year and not just during the holidays! 

When we focus on all the good things that we have been blessed with, there is no room in our minds for negativity. Each person’s happiness is ultimately their choice. Either we can be thankful for what we have or have a bad attitude about everything that is wrong. 

Negative thoughts will hold you back from your God-given identity. 

God has a purpose and a plan specifically for you, but you can’t truly experience that unless you let go of the bad attitude that is weighing you down. Your attitude is a choice. Make the choice to be more grateful. 

Everyone has rough days. I raised five kids in an 1800s farmhouse that had one bathroom, so I know how you feel. There were days I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. But you know what I decided to do? I put a sign on the door that said, “Make the Choice to Rejoice.” YOU have to make the choice to be grateful!

I want to encourage you today to make the choice to rejoice in all circumstances. 

Thankfulness is the antidote for negative thinking and depression. It is being FULL of THANKS to God for all He is and has done. Remember to purposefully be thankful when you start to feel bad. It works, and it attracts more things to be grateful for into your life.  

You might be asking, “Well, Drenda, what exactly do those two words mean?” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of the word thankful is “expressive of thanks; conscious of benefit received; or well pleased.” The word grateful has a similar definition: “appreciative of benefits received; expressing gratitude; affording pleasure or contentment; pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated.”  

You may think you have nothing to be grateful or thankful for, but I promise you that you do. 

You may think that with everything going on in the world today, and with the limitations on how many people you can see this year on Thanksgiving, and with all of the holiday stress, you have nothing to be thankful or grateful for… But I promise you that you do!

There is joy that can be found every day through Christ when you look at the blessings you do have and not at what you don’t have. 

Read below for three keys on how you can be more grateful and thankful!

 

1. Change Your Words. (Speak It.)

“This situation will never change.” 

“My life is so stressful. I can’t catch a break!”

“I’ll never be able to travel again.” 

What have you been saying lately? What words have been coming out of your mouth? 

We have all said things we shouldn’t have at one time or another. Other than Jesus, I can’t imagine there is any person who isn’t guilty of saying things they wish they could take back—about others or themselves. 

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21, NIV). 

Instead of speaking negative words, we need to be speaking words of LIFE. One of the most important things you can do to help yourself become more grateful is to speak it.

Our words set the course for your life. The Bible says out of the heart, the mouth speaks. What we meditate on affects the words we speak. If we’re continually meditating on the negatives in our lives, nothing but negativity is going to come out of our mouths! If we meditate on the Word of God and thankfulness, we’re training our hearts and mouths to speak the Word of God and gratitude in every situation. Renew your mind to His Word, and speak what He says.    

Our words are powerful. We need to make sure our hearts and mouths are full of the Word of God!

 

2. Change Your Thoughts. (Think It.)

Our thoughts set things into motion—for good or for bad. Our thoughts can either propel us forward or hold us back from the amazing lives God has for us. If we’re always thinking about things that are negative or toxic, there’s no way we’re moving forward. 

Happiness depends on your MINDSET, not your CIRCUMSTANCES.

Your thoughts are extremely powerful. God created positive thoughts to help you love others, to laugh, to motivate you to work toward your goals, to push through circumstances, and chase after your dreams. 

Joyce Meyer once said, “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” 

We cannot move forward until we begin to think like God thinks. There is nothing apart from Him and His joy that can truly make us happy and complete. When we renew our minds with His Word and hope for our lives, we can rediscover our happiness and purposes in Him. 

We have to retrain our mental habits. We need to start taking negative thoughts captive and meditating on positive words every day. Renew your mind to His Word, because the truth sets you free (John 8:32)! When we make the choice to rejoice and be grateful, we will have JOY! By focusing on everything we have been blessed with, we get off the negatives, and then we can be happy. 

I promise that if you begin to change your focus, your whole life, attitude, and perception will change!

 

3. Count Your Blessings. (Count It.)

We have so much to be grateful for every day, but often it’s easier to focus on the negative things. 

Developing an attitude of gratitude is a HUGE building block to your success!

Every morning right after you wake up, or every night before you go to bed, think of five things you’re grateful for. You can write them down or say them out loud, whatever works best for you. Starting and ending your day with positive thoughts will stop the cycle of negative thoughts.

One great way to count your blessings is to start a gratitude journal! Each day, write at least one thing you are thankful for. Keeping a gratitude journal puts your focus on all the incredible things going on in your life and stops you from focusing on the negatives.

 

Practice Gratitude to Change Your Attitude

Did you know there is a connection between what you believe and your joy?  

What you meditate on becomes a belief. Meditating on your failures, mistakes, and what someone did or said to you will make you negative and zap the strength out of you. 

Therefore, you must guard yourself against wrong thinking and wrong believing. Think happy thoughts! When you have a personal relationship with God, you can believe good things about who you are in Him, and you can rejoice!

Choose to believe what God and His Word say to you and about you. 

Don’t let the enemy steal your joy. Believe what God says, and serve Him with gladness! 

Getting out there and serving in the Kingdom is a great way to have gratitude and be joyful. There is something about helping others and sharing kindness and God’s love that instantly improves our mood. 

When we focus on the good things we have been blessed with, there is no room in our minds for negativity. Every person’s happiness is ultimately their choice. Either we can be thankful for what we have or have a bad attitude about everything wrong. Negative thoughts will hold you back from your God-given identity! God has a purpose and a plan specifically for you, but you can’t truly experience that unless you let go of the bad attitude weighing you down! 

We all have bad days, but you don’t have to let your circumstances keep you from walking in the freedom you have in Christ. I learned this the hard way, but you don’t have to! Use these keys to propel you toward living a happy life. 

When I made the choice to rejoice, I regained my joy and took back my day. The most powerful lesson I learned was that my happiness was MY CHOICE. I could CHOOSE to have a good day. 

Nobody can steal your joy unless YOU give them permission.

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