My friends, we are in relationship with a powerful king that desires to give us the world and bless his people in as many ways as he possibly can. He is the creator of the beautiful blue water that covers 70% of the earth, the Grand Canyon, the thousands of different flowers that bloom in the springtime, and the people that surround us every day. There is an infinite amount of things in our lives to be thankful for when we come to realize how truly blessed we are in this life. Saying we are thankful and using polite manners is one thing but living a life of constant thanksgiving to God in all things can completely flip our perspective on everything. When we are genuinely thankful for every circumstance (both good and bad) God has placed in our paths, we begin to experience a greater amount of joy in Christ.
The bible loves to talk about giving all this glory and thanksgiving back to Christ as it says in Colossians 3: 17: “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Last summer I heard a speaker at my summer camp say, “What if we woke up today with only the things we thanked God for yesterday?” Pause and take that in for a second. We obviously are aware that we are blessed and have more than what we need, but how often do we actually stop to thank God for giving us those things? Everything we have is from God, we are not our own but his creations and he has given us legit everything in this life from the shoes on our feet, to our house or jobs, and everything in between.
There are so many absolutely incredible, creative ways to thank God for all we are and have. But, in an effort to not make this post 10 pages long, I have narrowed down my top three ways to spend time thanking Jesus. If you’re looking for new ways to stretch your relationship with Jesus I encourage you to try some of these awesome practices out.
- Gratitude Journal
This past spring semester near the end of a very hard and long season of my life one of my professors assigned a project that I genuinely believe pushed more in my faith than I had ever been pushed before. The assignment was to record in a gratitude journal of the things I was grateful for everyday for a week. My struggle at this point in the semester was that I was exhausted in every way, my anxiety was at an all-time high, finals were upon us and I was on my 8th major now taking over ½ my classes for elective credit, and it was still snowing in April. But when I dug deeper into what I could possibly be thankful for amidst a crazy season, I found there was SO much more to be thankful for in my life. I was thankful that God placed my encouraging community of best friends into my life that never let me forget how loved I was. I was thankful for the ability to have professors that worked with me and prayed with me to surrendering over to God’s plan for my life and major. I was thankful for food that was prepared for me (even though it was hicks) so that I didn’t have to take extra time to burn mac ‘n cheese in the microwave (like all of freshman year). I was thankful for the reminder that I was exactly where I was suppose to be and that God takes our messy struggles and uses them to grow us, move us, and push us into the believers we are today. My challenge for you is to start the practice of a gratitude journal because God can use it to radically flip your perspective on everything. Even if you begin with just 5 things you’re thankful for each day, it is so refreshing to get in a pattern of thanking Jesus for everything he has given us.
- Prayer Walk
This summer I unexpectedly ended up working in one of the most beautiful places in New York State. Everywhere I look the beauty of God’s creation is so so evident. From the jaw-breaking architecture to the flowers lining the streets, to families laughing together in the lake, it’s been the coolest experience to see God’s beauty in a new way. I’ve also randomly fallen in love with exercise as a form of spending time with God, which is probably one of the most unique things I’ve ever experienced (considering I was that child that failed drastically at every sport I ever tried). Therefore, I decided to mash the two together and try “the prayer walk thing” out. 10/10 review because, I find my prayer walks every afternoon to be a powerful time of conversation with Jesus (especially being the person that I am & my mind likes to go a million miles an hour 24/7). As I have gone on these walks all I can seem to do is thank Jesus for everything surrounding me in that moment, thank him for the work he’s doing in my heart, and thank him for every circumstance that is happening in my life. As I went on my walk yesterday I meditated on Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” A prayer of thanksgiving for everything happening in our lives can be so powerful and is so incredibly glorifying to God. My challenge to you is to take time, even just 30 minutes to go on a walk with just you and Jesus and just start praying, I think you might be amazed by how much there truly is to be thankful for.
This one might be obvious but worshipping Jesus with our music gives us such a glimpse of heaven. There are countless worship songs that sing praises to Jesus thanking him for who he is and what he has done for us. The song “Thank You” by Jesus Culture is a worship song that embodies a true cry of thanksgiving to God as we walk through any circumstance in life (if you haven’t listened to this song check it out). When we take on the perspective that our worship is a sign of thanking Jesus our hearts begin to change. My challenge to you is to begin to thank Jesus through your worship.
Obviously, there will be seasons of our lives were it will be more difficult to thank God for our circumstances than at other times. But the bible didn’t say give thanks to God only when life is easy, it said give thanks in ALL circumstances. If you are out of the pattern of thanking Jesus, struggling to find what your thankful for, or even just have more to thank him for in your life, I encourage you to try one (or all) of these three methods to dive deeper into your relationship with Jesus. We are blessed people. My prayer is that we each begin to start a pattern of thanking Jesus for each and every beautiful blessing he has given us.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18