DAY 16: “Giving Thanks = Happiness”

“When you praise (give thanks) you feel better!”

It’s Thanksgiving week! My favorite Holiday and time of year! It makes me smile when I see the beautiful colors of the trees outside as they change from green, to gold, to red. There is an excitement and acceleration in the air as people scurry about the city. I look forward to gathering with my family, eating lots of food, and giving thanks for all the wonderful things God has done in our lives.

As I shared in the first week of my blog, this holiday could also be the worst holiday for me. During a 9-month period I lost a child (that was to be born at Thanksgiving) and a sister (that passed at Thanksgiving). There were a few other things that happened that year to make it the “Least Wonderful Time of the Year.” It was at that time I had a decision to make: Was I going to see Thanksgiving through the lens of grief, despair, and heartbreak or thankfulness?  No, instead I chose to see through the lens of thankfulness and praise. I’m not saying that it came instantly, suddenly, or that I was instantly “good.” It was a daily, sometimes minute-by-minute choice. Even today I must make that choice as the enemy sometimes tries to put negative thoughts into my head and get me to step out of thankfulness.

What was my secret? I found out that giving thanks=happiness. That’s right, giving thanks=happiness. The more I changed my thinking toward thankfulness, the more I moved toward happiness. As a musician and worshiper, I have found that one of the best ways to express myself is through praise and thanksgiving. The word praise means “the act of expressing approval or admiration; commendation; laudation.”  Other words for praise are applause, appreciate, compliment. Even when I don’t feel like it, if I choose thanks and praise, God is always faithful to meet me with joy, peace, happiness or whatever I am needing at that moment.

Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.“

“May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” Psalm 68: 3

God wants us happy, joyful, keeping an attitude of thankfulness. This is His will for us.  If we are thankful in all situations, it helps develop our trust in God. Our faith can grow and become stronger as we go through trials, spend time with whacky relatives, and go through the crazy holiday season.  We can thrive by staying joyful, giving thanks, keeping our peace, and choosing happiness. If I start to feel myself going in the wrong direction, I go to the piano to worship and start declaring God’s promises over myself and my household until I feel a shift.

Here are some more scriptures I love to declare and I encourage you to do the same!

Psalm 69: 30: “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.”

Psalm 71:8: “My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” Vs. 14 “But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long.”

Psalm 90:14: “Satisfy me in the morning with your unfailing love, that I may sing for joy and be glad all my days.”

Psalm 100: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us and we are the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

Psalm 118: 14: “The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.”

When you praise (give thanks) you feel better! It takes the focus off yourself and puts it on God where it should be anyway. Giving thanks is scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve well-being and even help you get a better night’s sleep!

This week, let’s do a daily happiness check. If you find yourself sliding in the wrong direction, first check what is coming out of your mouth. Are you speaking life or death? Do you have a “Happy Hallie” face or a “Grumpy Gus” face? No matter what your circumstances are, do you choose joy, peace, and thankfulness? No matter what, God is faithful! If you feel like a 1, he is your 99!  You’ve got this week!  Giving thanks is your first weapon toward happiness! You are on your way to the best Thanksgiving ever!

Say this with me: “Father, in the Name of Jesus, today I choose to give thanks in all circumstances. You are my strength and my song; nothing can move me this week but you! My mouth will be filled with your praise, and this will be the best Thanksgiving ever!”

Shalom,

Mama Swan