Life is stressful, and my kids spin me in circles with all their needs and desires. Finding the strength to keep encouraging my husband’s heart starts to feel exhausting. Pain, fear, doubt, poor health, and so much in this broken world seep into my days. Before I realize it, my blessings start to feel like a burden instead. It becomes harder to have a heart of gratitude for God’s faithfulness in my life.
When I find myself struggling to choose a grateful attitude, God has impressed upon me the importance of being intentional in guiding my heart back to thankfulness. Scripture tells us that our feelings can lead us astray and tempt us away from what God has for us (Jeremiah 17:9). Romans 8:5-6 (ESV) says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
So what can we do to shift our hearts and minds from Satan’s attempts to steal our joy (John 10:10)? How can we be intentional about pursuing a heart of gratitude? Try these four steps.
1. Seek peace at the feet of Jesus
Choosing to stop clinging to our emotions and releasing them to our heavenly Father can be the most difficult part of this process. It can also require that we take the same thing to Him in prayer over and over again. As we slow down and come to God in prayer, we give the Holy Spirit the space to work. This choice becomes the pivotal tipping point in our ability to realign our hearts with what God has for us. As we bring our fear, pain, and discontentment, He exchanges those for His peace and hope (Philippians 4:7).
2. Remember His faithfulness
Taking time to remind ourselves of God’s past faithfulness can keep us on the path back to gratitude. Giving our heart and mind the opportunity to reflect on His faithful provision for our own lives, as well as the lives of those found in scripture, redirects our thoughts and encourages our souls.
Try writing down all the ways God has been faithful to you and your family over the past five years. Take time to thank God for any answered prayers in recent years or any way you have seen His faithful provision. If you write your prayers in a journal, I would recommend taking the extra step to go back and highlight answered prayers.
3. Give Him your praise and trust
Praise Him for His faithfulness, and choose to live a life that shows your trust in Him. Pursue His will for your life over your own. As followers of Christ, we are called to trust Him and His plan for our lives, offering our life daily for His purposes (Romans 12:1). Seeking to deepen your relationship with your Father each day will strengthen your trust and guard your heart (Isaiah 26:3-4). It also becomes a great reminder that it is in our relationship with Christ that we gain the strength to be steadfast in our faithful obedience to our Creator.
4. Pray for strength and discernment
Finally, as you connect with your Lord and Savior daily, humbly pray for the strength and clarity to see when your feelings are leading you astray. Ask Him to give you the eyes and ears to see when Satan is tempting your heart away from Him. Then intentionally ask for the strength and courage to give Him space to work in you, so that you can live a life full of gratitude and thankfulness in all circumstances.