“Thirty grateful breaths . . . sets the tone for the day,” says Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney. The article caught my eye while I sat waiting in the airport. Before even getting out of bed she takes a deep breath, thinks of something she’s grateful for, and holds the thought until she’s ready for another breath—and another grateful thought.
What a great way to start the day! My Dad has made a lifetime practice of doing something similar: he lifts his heart in thanks to God before his feet touch the floor. The effect of all those mornings shows in his demeanor: at 83, he is one of the most cheerful, appreciative, non-complainers I know. He also has a solid trust in God’s care that transcends the trials life throws his way. The discipline of thanks has built an “attitude of gratitude” that permeates his life.
No wonder the psalmist wrote, in Psalm 92:1-2, 4-5—
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your loving mercy in the morning,
and your truth in the watches of the night . . . .
You have gladdened me, O LORD, by your deeds;
For the work of your hands I shout with joy.
O Lord, how great are your works!
St. Paul took it a step further, saying that “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
In other words, don’t just give thanks before you get out of bed. Give thanks all day long, whatever you do.
Here’s where it helps to notice that there’s a small but important difference between simply being thankful and giving thanks to God. In the first case, finding enough to be thankful for to get that good vibe going in the morning (not to mention carrying it through the day) depends on how things are going. In the second, even when things are bad, you can direct thanks to God knowing that he’s got you in his hands.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (St. Paul again; I Thessalonians 5:18).
It is the will of God that we give thanks. I think it’s for our sake, as much as for his.
I’m going to meditate on the above verses in Psalm 92 this week. If you want to add your thoughts, come over to Facebook (Sarah Christmyer: author) and join my discussion group.
Blessings on you as you read his Word!
© 2018 Sarah Christmyer.