It’s the season of being grateful, where we get more intentional about noticing and offering thanks for the things that bring us joy (and they are almost always small and ordinary, right?).
Scripture tells us giving thanks is an important part of our prayer lives. Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”
Why did God tell us to pray with thanksgiving? One could assume He wants credit where credit is due, but if you read your Bible, you know that’s not who God is. He instructs us to pray with thanksgiving because it’s good for us to do so – and science proves it.
In his book What Happy People Know, Dan Baker writes, “During active appreciation, the threatening messages from your amygdala (the fear center of the brain) and the anxious instincts of your brainstem are cut off, suddenly and surely, from access to your brain’s neocortex, where they can fester, replicate themselves, and turn your stream of thoughts into a cold river of dread. It is a fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. The two states may alternate, but are mutually exclusive.”
Take another look at Phil 4:6, and you’ll see that it juxtaposes anxiety and gratitude. God designed our brains and then was so good to instruct us how to use it well.
There is a lot of research showing the benefits of gratitude. For example, according to Harvard Medical School, gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
This is just one more example of how God’s instruction is always good for us, and He can be trusted.
Application Prompt: Cultivating Gratitude
What does it look like to incorporate practicing gratitude into your daily routines or rituals? How might you use gratitude in a moment of overwhelm during the holidays?
The holidays can be tender for a lot of us. If you’re struggling or resistant to feeling grateful, give yourself grace. Get curious about what’s really going on and be honest with God about whatever is on your heart. Ask Him to step into the place you’re in and show you more of His Truth.
Need support? If you find yourself at an inflection point but unsure of how to get where you want to go in life, let’s talk. As a certified professional coach, I’ve helped women navigate the wilderness of personal growth and find their footing in the unknown, identify the things holding them back from the life they really want, set goals for overcoming obstacles and become all that God has called them to be. I want to help you, too.