“New year, new me” is a phrase that we tell each other to express our desire to change. We set these expectations on ourselves in the hopes of turning our life around when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. We cherish the memories, smiles, laughs, and even the tough times we experienced in the year, but at the same time, we hope for more in the year to come.
However, in the midst of the hype of new year resolutions, it would do us good to adopt gratitude rather than just focusing on what’s next. Learning to live with continual gratitude is one of the most worthwhile goals that we can have. When we are in a permanent state of gratitude, our life dramatically changes. We view our circumstances in a different light, people respond to us more positively, and we simply are happier.
In our modern world of ever-present social media and easy access to different types of products, there's often little space given to reflecting on the people and experiences that fill our lives with meaning and purpose. Places like church, which have traditionally served the function of giving people a time and place to step away from daily stressors, responsibilities, and distractions, help cultivate a grateful heart. Likewise, close relationships and the bond of marriage help instill gratitude in others by generating feelings of meaning and purpose in life. Church communities and close relationships are just a few ways to cultivate gratitude, but if we were to name them all, we'd probably break the internet.
Life is difficult and sometimes it’s hard to be grateful, but the beauty of it all is that God doesn’t just work to change our situations and help us through our problems. He does more. He changes our hearts. His power through grateful hearts and minds focused on Him releases the grip our struggles have over us. We're strengthened by His peace and refueled by His joy when we’re thankful. And when we don’t feel grateful, we can go to His Word, which is filled with many reminders of how powerful and vital a thankful heart is in this life.
Gratitude isn’t just about saying “thank you” enough” times. It’s about changing the way you view everything in your life and how you operate on a day-to-day basis. Once you adopt an attitude of gratitude, you will be amazed at how many areas of your life will improve.