09. November 2015 · 1 comment · Categories: Hope, Joy
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“What do I have to be grateful for?”

Have you ever heard someone who is going through a difficult time say something like this?  Have you ever caught yourself saying something like this?  It is true that there are a lot of difficulties that go along with life, and sometimes it can be really easy to get caught up in all the things that seem to be going wrong, or that you lack in your life.  But… there are reasons that we need gratitude in our lives.

Fear not, in everything give thanks

Gratitude isn’t just nice, it is necessary.

Did you know that there are 194 references in the scriptures to thankfulness and thanksgiving?

In Mosiah 18: 23 it says

And he commanded them that…every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.”

Psalms 118:29 states

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

In Doctrine and Covenants 59:21, it says

And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things…”

Why is gratitude so important?

God wants us to be gracious.  He also wants us to be happy. He is a loving father, who wants us to come back to Him, in righteousness and glory. Gratitude is one important step on this road. Following are 3 reasons why we should seek out gratitude in our lives.

1- Grateful people are happier people

When you choose to find things to be grateful about, you take the focus off of your troubles. The focus changes to things that are blessings in your life. It only seems logical that when you feel blessed you will feel happy.  But this theory transfers over to real world applications.

There have been multiple studies to show that people who are grateful have higher levels of happiness in their lives.  One such study, found here, happened like this…

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Happiness doesn’t come out of having an abundance of good things and an absence of troubles.  We all have troubles. They are naturally a part of life. But for those of us who can recognize their blessings and express regular gratefulness, whether to God in prayer, to ourselves in our journaling, or to others who bless our lives, a greater sense of well being and happiness will come into our lives.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1917–2008) said gratitude “is a quality I have found in every happy person I know”

grateful and happy

2- People who express gratitude, find more things to be grateful for

Once you start looking for things to be grateful for, more things begin to come to your mind. The natural outcome of looking for things to be grateful for, by “counting your blessings,” is that you realize that there is always just one more thing to be grateful for, the list could truly be endless.  Watch this video and see what some people in New York have to be grateful for, and see if it doesn’t remind you of things you are grateful for, that you may have overlooked.

I especially like the young man who says he is thankful for the future opportunities.  Which brings me to the last reason why we should be grateful.

3- Showing gratitude opens us up to receive future blessings.

When we show gratitude to others, it increases our feelings of good will toward each other, and helps to build and/or strengthen the relationship.  With stronger relationships with the people in our lives, we have more opportunities to help and bless them, and they in turn will continue to further bless our lives. So maybe gratitude will help us to build our circle of friends, along with creating a strong network of family and friends.

The next place we should show gratitude is to God, considering all of the scriptures that give us specific instruction to do so. When we thank God for our blessings, it shows Him that we recognize His hand in “all things” including our own lives.  He loves us and He surely sends blessings to us in greater abundance than we know. By taking the time to count our blessings and recognize and express gratitude for those blessings, we are allowing the Almighty to continue to be a part of our lives, and this will invite future blessings that we may not even be able to comprehend.

In Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 we are promised

He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more”

Does it get any better than that?

Over the next few weeks, leading up to Thanksgiving, we will share more about gratitude, and how we can more fully incorporate it into our lives.

aa laura

1 Comment

  1. This message brought tears of gratitude to my eyes.
    Tha k,you, Laura, for this poignant reminder of what matters so very much.

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