Get your hopes up! | Teen Life Christian Youth Articles, Daily Devotions

Get your hopes up!

Image: Get your hopes up!

Discover how a practice of gratitude can lead to a more joyful life today.

Did you know you can have a happier life just by practicing gratitude?

Now, I’m not talking about having an “attitude of gratitude”, but rather a practice of gratitude.

In other words, actually speaking out your thankfulness for the people and things in your life.

Do you have a scarcity mindset?

If you want a happier life, slow down and be grateful for the many joys and good things in your life.

Ask yourself, do I have a mindset of scarcity (“I never have enough”) or a mindset of sufficiency (“I’m thankful for what I’ve got”)?

Many of us have this nagging feeling of scarcity all throughout our day. Even when we go to bed and set our alarm, so many of us do the “sleep math”.

We think to ourselves, “okay I’m getting up at 7:00, it's 11:36 pm I’m getting 7 hours and 24 minutes of sleep – that’s almost eight hours of sleep, not quite, but it is almost.”

And then, our first thought when we wake up in the morning was that we didn't get enough sleep. We focus on what we don’t have, rather than thanking God for what we do have in that moment – a bed to sleep in, a roof over our heads, clothes to get changed into, breakfast in the morning… and that’s just the first few minutes of the day!  

A scarcity mindset also leads to thoughts like I don't have enough time, I don't have enough money, I don't have enough social media followers, I don't have enough good weather… and we end up thinking the same thing in every part of our lives – I JUST DON'T HAVE ENOUGH.

How can you grow in gratefulness and joy?

Being thankful throughout the day opens your heart to recognize the many gifts that you already have in your life.

Gratitude says “even though I’m ambitious and I have dreams and goals, where I am now is where God has me. God has given me so much, and I am just so thankful. Thank you, God, for what I have.”

As you practice gratitude in your life, you’ll move from a mindset of scarcity to a spirit of sufficiency, where you can say with joy:

  • I am enough
  • I have enough
  • God has given me everything I need
  • I can enjoy today with joy

Throughout the Bible, there is a pattern of rejoicing and being grateful. Here is one of many examples:

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This passage says to rejoice ALWAYS. This is what worship is; worship is the regular rhythm that, in spite of our circumstances and our grieving, we still decide to say thank you God.

There is something about gratitude, about being grateful that reinforces faith, that diminishes doubt, that springs up a well of joy and life in us.

A way to live a happy life is to experience gratitude. It slows down the pace of things and almost requires us to stop for a brief moment and look around, beyond the unmet expectations, to what really matters.

Five practical ways to practice a life of gratitude

  1. SLOW DOWN: begin by walking with a slower posture, opening your heart to the sufficiency of the father’s world in which you live right now.
  2. Become a tourist in your own hometown: Stop and notice great things that are in your life that you may take for granted.
  3. Be thankful for three things every day: A University of Pennsylvania study found that writing down just three things you're grateful for every day for 21 days has been shown to significantly improve optimism.
  4. Thank people as often as you are able: Thank people in your life that you work with, who you talk to, and say to them “I am thankful for you” .
  5. Give thanks for Jesus: After all, he is the one who gives us “everything we need for life and for godliness”  (2 Peter 1:3)

Written by Bobby Schuller, edited by Dakota Shyres.