How Daily Gratitude Keeps Us Relational
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” ~ 1 Chronicles 16:34
When I think of gratitude, I think of this moment in the movie White Christmas, where Bing Crosby is singing to Eleanor Clooney a song called “Counting My Blessings.” (see video below)
And I get it, it seems a little cheesy. But here’s the amazing thing: when we focus on gratitude or as Bing puts it, our blessings, there is a literal change in our brains! Like a switch that gets flipped from being in the ‘Off’ to the ‘On’ position. Just from spending a moment in gratitude helps you to reconnect to peace, joy, and to others quickly.
Is it in the ‘Off’ or the ‘On’ position?
You might be wondering, “Why does it matter if my switch is off or on?”
Well, that “switch” in our brains is what helps us connect, engage, and develop healthy relationships. Because truly, that’s the whole point! God wants a relationship with us! And even more, He wants us to build healthy relationships with others in our communities and families too. But how do we do that? I mean, there’s so much pain and hurt! How can we even begin to build healthy relationships when all that is out there?
Well, we can start with ourselves. In re-learning what it means -in the simplest ways- when our brain disconnects and how we can teach ourselves to reconnect and stay connected in difficult situations.
First things first, how do you know if your switch is on or off? Here are a few questions or indicators the Life Model developed to ask yourself whether your relationship switch is turned off:
1: I just want to make a problem, person, or feeling go away.
2: I don’t want to listen to what others feel or say.
3: I am dwelling on something or a situation that is upsetting.
4: I am not willing to hear what others feel or say.
5: I cannot feel gratitude or appreciation. ¹
If you answered yes to any of these questions, in any particular circumstance or just in general, it probably means that your relational switch is in the ‘Off’ position. Hey, it’s ok. We all end up there from time to time. But if you are in that place, you are missing out on so much by living in that state. With your switch turned ‘Off,’ you are in survival mode. Instead of just surviving, God wants us to thrive! And it starts with a flip of a switch.
How Gratitude flips the Switch
“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said to the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” ~ Psalm 126:2
There are several things you can do to help turn that switch into the ‘ON’ position and reconnect with God and with others. Engaging in an attitude of gratitude is one of them! By taking a moment every day to have a gratitude moment will help you to reconnect to many of the fruits of the spirit: joy, peace, kindness, and others.
It is a way to reconnect with God for the blessings He gives us. It is also an act of worship and spiritual warfare. For our enemy wants us divided: from God and from each other. But when we intentionally engage in gratitude, it flips our switch from the ‘Off’ to the ‘On’ position and we are then able to connect so much more with God and with others around us. It is from that deep well of relationship with God, that the peace that surpasses understanding flows freely from us. ¹
I know, it’s hard in moments of stress, to stop and have a gratitude moment. But I can promise you, that when you’re stressed, worried, or ______ (pick any other negative emotion you can think of), pause. Breathe. And express gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness to God for one thing from that day. Just one thing. Then take note of how you feel.
I am putting it you: The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge.
Try this for 30 days in your own life. Just finding one thing to be grateful or thankful for that happened that day. Just one. And see the difference that it makes for you in your relationship with God, and in your relationships with those around you at work, at home, in church, on a bus, in an elevator, wherever! Because why wouldn’t you want more peace and joy in your life?
¹. Brown, Amy & Coursey, Chris. Relational Skills in the Bible. Deeper Walk International. Carmel, IN. 2019. pg 15-28
². Life Model Works. https://lifemodelworks.org/
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Laura has been full time with SROM since February 2017. In addition to writing, she and her dog Lily enjoy going on adventures and pushing the limits of “the norm” in their daily rhythms. Most recently that includes the building of their own Tiny House on wheels starting in May.
To learn more about Laura, click here.