Say thank you!
Did you say thank you?
I’ve got to write my thank you notes!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
From the moment toddlers learn to speak, we are teaching them to say thank you. This lesson in manners is hopefully something we all carry through the rest of our lives, intentionally voicing gratitude for what people do for us or give us. Depending on the country you live in, you may even have a national holiday set aside to remember to be thankful. But those are moments—circumstances, calendar dates, a feeling of “thankfulness” when good things happen.
Throughout the Bible, gratefulness is seen as a permanent characteristic of the people of God, not a temporary feeling. The apostle Paul said those who follow Christ are to be “overflowing with gratitude” (Col. 2:7b). But did he mean all the time? Even in suffering, hardship, and loss? Yes. In those times too. How do we reconcile this? How do we learn to be women who feel grateful even when our circumstances don’t seem to warrant it?
It seems (and I imagine this won’t surprise you) that gratitude begins in what our thoughts dwell on. As women of God, do we actively think about Him and the promises and blessings the Bible tells us are ours as followers of Jesus? Or do we spend our time comparing ourselves to others—envying the perfect lives we see presented to us through social media feeds and bemoaning our daily grind or challenging relationships? Because to be women who overflow with gratitude as God’s Word tells us to be, we can’t do both.
We live in this gratitude tension. But what we hope you understand is that God created you, saved you, loves you, and is using you for His good purpose—to glorify Him and extend His love to others. So, no matter how your life measures up against those around you or how hard things get from time to time, a heart of gratitude is possible simply because of who Jesus is and who you are in Him.
Our prayer is that we will be women who learn to “rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:15-18).
Five Reflection Questions on Living in Gratitude
Today, take some time to reflect on the following questions as you practice living in gratitude:
1. When you look back over the last few years, how has God changed you the most? Which change are you most thankful for, and why?
2. When was a time you experienced God’s discipline? Were you able to be thankful for it in the moment? How about now?
3. How does God’s generosity to us produce generosity in us? How has this been the case for you?
4. What does it look like for you to be on mission for God? How does having a grateful heart encourage and motivate you to be on mission?
5. Which spiritual blessings are you most thankful for and why?
Foster a heart of gratitude with Grateful, a 4-session BIble study by Lifeway Women. Each week you’ll look at a profile of someone in the Bible with a grateful heart, find teaching from Scripture on gratefulness, focus on a psalm of thanksgiving, and be encouraged to practice gratitude. When you’re able to see the biblical basis of living with a grateful heart, you will be more motivated to thank God in all things. Learn more at lifeway.com/grateful.
ABOUT LAURA MAGNESS
Laura Magness is a content editor for Lifeway Women and has worked for Lifeway in a variety of editorial roles since 2008. A graduate of Samford University and Dallas Theological Seminary, she lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband Nathan and their sons. You can find her writing online for Lifeway Women, Lifeway Adults, and smallgroup.com.