Philippians 4:6-7-“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Many of us have either memorized, read, or heard that verse countless times. But today as I read it, something stood out to me. Being thankful when making requests of God results in peace, less anxiety, and our hearts and minds being protected. Seems like a simple equation and who does not want peace beyond understanding and freedom from anxiety? So then why are so many people suffering from anxiety, yes many even in churches?

I did some research. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States. Women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Meanwhile, approximately 7% of children aged 3-17 experience issues with anxiety each year. Most people develop symptoms before age 21. How sad is that? I’m not talking about momentary anxiety we all experience, but chronic anxiety.

A young woman we’ve been praying for in our church family is expecting a baby and is now in the hospital for several weeks before the birth to ensure he’s born healthy. She emailed me and asked to be part of the prayer team to pray for other people while she is in the hospital. I’m grateful for her and I know that God will be guarding her heart and mind while she waits. Why? Because that is what He promises to those who pray and give thanks. Being thankful in all situations helps us develop our trust in God and helps us to be humble. Thanking God in difficult situations can also help us appreciate the good times more.

Practicing gratitude increases dopamine in your brain (the stuff that makes you feel good!) and encourages your brain to seek more of the same. So, scientifically speaking, the more you are grateful, the more you will find things to be grateful for. I’m grateful for the Creator who designed that brain, aren’t you? I wonder if that also means the more I grumble, the more things I find to grumble about . . . just thinking.

How can we practice gratitude every day? Notice good things, look for them, appreciate them. Savor, absorb, and really pay attention to those good things. Express your gratitude to God, write it down, or thank someone. Even in the darkest of times, we can praise God for his love, his sovereignty, and his promise to be near us when we call (Psalm 145:18).

Thank you, Lord, for your peace that transcends understanding and your love that endures forever.

Deb Hill
Executive Assistant

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