Philosophers, psychologists and the Bible agree on the connection between joy and gratitude. When a truth is that universally accepted, you’ve got to pay attention.
To sum up all the research – grateful people are happy people. It’s just that simple.
Last week we talked about the rhythm of finding joy:
- Embrace life as a gift
- Express gratitude
- Experience joy
Developing at attitude of gratitude will absolutely increase the joy level in your life. But that’s not all. It does more than produce joy. Gratitude destroys joy killers.
Maybe you’ve experienced some of these joy killers in your life:
Anger –Why do we think complaining, frustration and exasperation will get us where we need to be? We choose anger because we seek control.
Fear –Fear keeps us looking at the circumstances around us with foreboding, waiting for the next thing to go wrong. We are overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear. We give up.
Resentment – When we are easily offended, life becomes a melancholy done-me-wrong song. Resentment festers in our heart and bitterness grows.
Perfectionism – One of the biggest misconceptions in life is that joy comes from perfect circumstances. But it’s impossible to reach perfection because the bar keeps moving just beyond our reach.
Envy – Envy is an ugly green monster that destroys everything in its path – the ultimate dissatisfaction with life and everything in it.
Kinda makes you grumpy just reading about these joy killers doesn’t it?
Stop! News flash: Gratitude destroys joy-killers like these.
We can’t just dismiss negative feelings, but we can replace them with a positive feeling. Gratitude reaches in, sweeps away the junk and makes room for joy to move in. Gratitude recognizes that God is in control and we can trust him with our lives. It causes us to look up and reminds us of the things in our lives that do work. Gratitude helps us to let go of bitterness and hold on to our faithful God. Gratitude displaces the fantasy of perfection and souring envy. It opens our eyes to the good, good life around us.
We discover joy when we watch for God’s gifts of grace. Joy is maintained as we continue to express gratitude in everyday moments.
Gratitude produces joy AND it diminishes the dysfunctional attitudes that rob us of our joy.
What are you grateful for?
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18
This is the second part in a series
Click here for the first part The Year of Gratitude