How Gratitude Can Change You Forever
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I woke up early one morning recently not able to sleep. It wasn't because of a nightmare or some unrest, it was because of gratitude (odd right?). I found myself thankful for some of the most common amenities of life. Thankful for my bed, my home, my health, the four children sleeping in their rooms, and for my wife sleeping soundly next to me.
It was as if I almost had previously had amnesia and I was learning for the first time that these everyday moments were a new reality to me. It was a very surprising gift and really can only apply Philippians 4:6-7 as the cause.
I recall waking up in a very different season where I didn't have a bed, I had no home, my children didn't have their own room provided by me and there was no one next to me. I battled depression, anxiety, and was fearful that this existence was the outcome instead of the epilogue.
It can be a gift to struggle, and there can be a change in you if you allow gratitude to do it's work on your heart. When you are able to encounter the times that are good, though not perfect and still with obstacles, you can see that the gratitude to God is the key to being able to present your requests to him.
The challenge is to find that nugget on a really challenging day of gratitude and lift it up to heaven. It is just astounding how time and time again the result is a peace that posts up in your heart to guard it and how it also firms up your mind. If we could only understand more deeply how healthy it is to practice and apply gratitude right in the middle of a storm or in the drudgery each day to God. How this is a catalyst to His power, His love, and His outcome taking shape in the middle of whatever is our current lens or landscape.
Though we will inevitably be "anxious" about something, Paul is encouraging us to not settle for this frame of mind or outlook. Rather, to work our way through discipline and hope that what the situation needs is prayer and petition offered with the underpinning of thanksgiving.
What a great formula!
The shift moves to his power and presence off our fear and at times pride. We then are able to see a change that we are recalibrated into a direction that we are confident that if we do that again and again we may not see immediate radical change, but if we make these small redirections of our heart and mind, we will in the long run of obedience arrive at an outcome that only is possible through Christ being our peace in every season.
Bless you in the ways you offer thankful hearts through any pain or challenge today.
May God be merciful and answer in a fashion that covers your head with peace!