When life is going well, it is easy to be thankful, right? However, when depression, anxiety, or any mental illness seems to take over our lives, sometimes being thankful is usually not the first thing we think of.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. It doesn’t mean only when things are good. It means in the hardest, deepest, darkest times as well. I have heard it taught and I believe this myself; it does not mean to thank him for the situation. It means thanking Him for His goodness and His blessings. Basically, think about the positive, not the negative. Well….again I don’t know about you, but for me this is not the first thing that comes to mind during difficult times. Honestly, this is a work in progress for me. However, as I am writing this blog, I believe what would make ‘giving thanks all the time, even in difficult times’ easier is to write down the things you are thankful for.
Since for most of us in the heat of the moment being thankful is not at the forefront of our minds, maybe we can do a gratitude notebook. It doesn’t have to be fancy; just some paper or notebook. Let’s try to write things we are thankful for or blessings God has provided us on a daily or weekly basis. Maybe doing it as often as we can will create a good habit so it would be more natural to be thankful in the hard times as we would already be in the habit of doing it consistently. I like to check things off of my “to-do-list”. So at first, I would probably put a note on my calendar to remind me to write things I’m thankful for every day or weekly.
Then, if and when we are in a dark place, we have a habit. This habit will cause us to purposefully think of a blessing and write it down. Seeing things written down seem to come to life. As you write you thoughts down, it could make you think of more things; then before you know it you are concentrating on God instead of the situation.
I pray this will help both of us during the easy and difficult times.