“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, NIV
It can be easy to get caught up in how we could be happier if we had different possessions, opportunities, situations or people in our lives. However, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to give thanks in all circumstances. There is not a moment that goes by that we do not have something to be thankful for. Sometimes it is easy to find a lot to be grateful for; other times it feels more difficult to have a thankful attitude.
No matter how you feel today, here are three ways to be thankful for where you are:
1. Focus on God
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” — Matthew 6:33, NIV
Focusing on God helps us to develop an attitude of being thankful. Seeking God allows us to see what He has done in our lives and what we have to be thankful for. We become able to see how He is working in our lives, even in less-than-ideal circumstances.
Focusing on God also takes our focus off what we don’t have and our temptation to compare our lives with others. Matthew 6:33 tells us to “seek first his kingdom.” When we are seeking Him and His will, we are focusing not on our own desires but on His. Christians have faith in what Christ has promised. This hope is a constant for which we can be grateful.
2. Count Your Blessings
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” — Philippians 4:8, NIV
An old hymn by Johnson Oatman Jr. repeats the phrase, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.” Thankfulness requires reflection on our lives as we consider or count what God has given us.
When we reflect on our lives and blessings, we are often able to notice things that we otherwise take for granted — whether it be family and friends, clouds in the colorful sky or the taste of a cool drink on a hot day. Reflecting on these things and counting our blessings allows us to develop a grateful attitude and positive outlook.
Philippians 4:8 says we are to think about things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise. When we think about these good things in the world, it becomes easier to see how blessed we are, no matter the situation.
3. Accept Imperfection
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” — Romans 3:23, NIV
At times, we fall into the trap of thinking that some people have perfect lives or that we need to be perfect. However, this is not true. The world is imperfect because there is sin in the world. No one’s life is perfect, so it is of no use to compare our lives to the lives of others. In fact, this can distract us from being thankful in our own lives.
No matter where we are in life, Christians have all they need in Christ. Does that mean we will get everything we want in this world? No, but it does mean that Christ is everything we need. Ultimately, there is nothing greater to be thankful for than salvation through Jesus' atoning blood. While the things of this life will fade away, we have something that we can cherish forever — eternity with our Savior. Now that is truly something to be grateful for.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.