Gratitude is vitally important to our spiritual and mental health. I encourage you to keep a journal and to write each day things for which you are grateful. Just think about what each one of us has survived. We have survived traumatic experiences, loss, heartache, pain, and in some cases, sickness. As we turn to the Old and New Testaments, we see several examples of those who have experienced great trauma and yet, have been able to not only survive but thrive, thanks to an attitude of gratitude.
1 Thes. 5:16-18, says “Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (NRSV). It is easy to give thanks when everything is going well. When times are hard, we have to work harder to find that for which we are grateful. As we turn to the experiences of others and meditate on what is going well in our own lives, we will get better and the art of gratitude.
I am grateful for faithful leaders, friends, and family who have forgiven errant actions, words, and attitudes. I am grateful to serve among those who believe in the all-sufficient grace of God, the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the comfort, power, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I am grateful for my education and for all I have learned in every church in which I have served. Gratitude carries and sustains me. We have lost much but we have also survived much. Through all our losses and challenges, may we always remember to be grateful!