An Attitude of Thanksgiving – Nov 14, 2016

This was material I used for the Bible study for the Overcomer’s Life group on Nov 14th, 2016.   We also made Gratitude Journals, which I will include a picture of and a link to a DIY How To.  Enjoy!

Prologue

Depression is a nasty little thing, that lies to you.  I think one of it’s greatest lies, and it has so many, is that there is nothing good left in your life.  This lie can snuff out hope, extinguish even the faintest light of motivation, and cloud our attitudes.  Trying to carry on in a life where you can see nothing good is exhausting and, in my case at least, lead to deeper depressive symptoms.

Discussion question:  Have you ever felt this way?

The tool we are studying tonight, to break through this lie, is Gratitude.  If you are experiencing depression, identifying things in your life to be thankful for can be hard.  But if we take small steps, do the work, it can also lead to a ray of hope.

Here is what happens when a person practices Gratitude:

  1. Your brain chemistry actually changes, and can counteract the lie of negative thinking of depression.
  2. People who express gratitude regularly have been found to take better care of themselves, engage in healthier behaviors including exercise and better diets, and cope better with stress and challenges.  (From a studies from the University of Utah by Lisa Aspinwall and the University of California at Davis, Robert Emmons)

Discussion Question:  How can you practice gratitude on a regular basis?

There are many ways to practice being thankful.  I like to start out my prayers with at least one thing I am thankful for.  You could also thank someone who was kind to you, but who you never acknowledged.

One of my favorite methods, however, is writing in a gratitude journal.  At the end of the day, I try to write at least one thing.   I found that as I practiced this, each day it became easier to write more than one thing I was grateful for.  It doesn’t have to be something huge: it can be a hug from a family member, a smile from a stranger, or the fact that you found a quarter wedged between the couch cushions.  It could be that you are grateful for a brief time of energy, a respite from that headache you’ve had all day, or the brush of your pet against your leg.

Another benefit of writing down these occurrences of thankfulness in a journal, is that when you fund you are in a depressive state, and hope seems to be gone, you can go back and be reminded of what blessings you experienced.  🙂

What does the Bible say about being thankful?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. – Colossians ESV

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  -Philippians 4:6

I love how these verses seem to mention prayer and peace alongside thankfulness.  I think it’s sort of an action/result sort of message.  By expression our thankfulness to our Heavenly Father, we find that this “peace of Christ” starts to flow into our lives.  And for those of you who have experienced the anxiety that often accompanies depression, doesn’t the idea of peace sound so amazing?

Hope you liked this months Bible study.  I’ll be including a short DIY on how we made our journals in a new post, and some pictures here in just a few mins.

 

***The opinions expressed here are just one girls thoughts and experiences in my journey through depression.  I am not a doctor, and my advice should not be taken in the place of one.  If you are experiencing depression, please know that you are not alone, and that there is help, hope and healing.  Please contact your medial professional and doctor and seek professional help immediately.***

 

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