How to Be Thankful in Tough Times
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
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1. Don’t worry about anything. Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing. There’s no such thing as born worriers; worry is a learned response. You learned it from your parents. You learned it from your peers. You learned it from experience. That’s good news. The fact that worry is learned means it can also be unlearned. Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).
2. Pray about everything. Use the time you’ve spent worrying for praying. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a whole lot less to worry about. Some people think God only cares about religious things, such as how many people I invite to church or my tithing. Is God interested in car payments? Yes. He’s interested in every detail of your life. That means you can take any problem you face to God.
3. Thank God in all things. Whenever you pray, you should always pray with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is not love, but gratitude. It actually increases your immunities; it makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied; it’s never good enough. So if you cultivate the attitude of gratitude, of being thankful in everything, it reduces stress in your life.
4. Think about the right things. If you want to reduce the level of stress in your life, you must change the way you think. The way you think determines how you feel, and the way you feel determines how you act. So if you want to change your life, you need to change what you’re thinking about.
This involves a deliberate, conscious choice where you change the channels. You choose to think about the right things: focus on the positive and on God’s Word. Why? Because the root cause of stress is the way you choose to think.
When we no longer worry, when we pray about everything, when we give thanks, when we focus on the right things, the apostle Paul tells us the result is, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NLT).
What a guarantee! He is guaranteeing peace of mind.
© 2009 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers.