The Habit of Giving Thanks: Consistent Gratitude

The verse goes, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us complain and be mad in it.” Oh! Wait! My bad. Psalm 118 says, “This is the day that the LORD has made,” so let us give thanks and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24 ESV).

How often it is that we blow right over that statement! If we think about it at all, we tend to reflect, and then say, “But what about this? But what about that?” Or, “If they only knew…” Or, “But my story is different.” Is it possible that, as a habit, we have trained ourselves to think in a dour way? Have we allowed our own culture to push us down so heavily we are nearly broken under the strain? Are we convinced the shoe is ultimately going to drop—actually inviting trouble? Do we passively give ourselves permission to allow the bombardment of sarcasm (defined in Greek as the tearing of flesh or gnashing of teeth), and consider it humor? Do we tolerate or involve ourselves in snarky comments? Do we casually listen to our leaders and the pundits as they continue to attack one another with labels, libels, and mean-spirited liberties?

I am afraid the answer to these questions might be yes. Sometimes we feel we can’t escape it. And, as a result, we find ourselves immersed in our own darkness, feeling the heaviness that only a darkened spirit and anger can provide. Allow me to suggest a habit of relief. Declare grateful statements! Yes, out loud! Zoom out in your thinking; look at the bigger picture; turn down the hash trash; give yourself permission to declare something upbeat—no matter how profound or mundane. Then, do it again (e.g., I love my children! I’m glad for the air in my tires!). Look around and find things. I have cultivated this habit for over five years, and it has helped me a great deal, even in troublesome times—maybe especially in troublesome times. It isn’t Pollyanna stuff. It’s intentional.

Surprise yourself. Feel the feeling of freedom for that one moment of escape from an entangled and critical world. Give yourself the power of rejoicing (Philippians 4:4). Make it a habit. Every morning, declare three “gratitudes” and try your best not to repeat them in the days that follow. Soon, you will begin to develop a mindset that begins to override the junk that flows into the day. You will become stronger and more powerful in your daily walk! After a while (40 days and 40 nights), you won’t even notice that you have a default positive mindset that radiates out to others all day long—a wonderful habit and ministry. Go ahead. Start today!

After all, this is the day that the LORD has made! We didn’t make it. We just get to be part of it! May we always remember that. Until next time, also remember: There is always, always, always something to be grateful for.

William Brown, MEd, MSpEd, was born and raised in rural Nebraska. He majored in education at Doane College and played varsity football. He earned his master’s in education administration while teaching elementary students, and later earned an additional master’s degree to work with behaviorally challenged students. For 25 years, he worked in Property/Casualty and Risk Management Insurance. In his “retirement,” William focuses on health and life coaching, including 12-step programs, and has grown his business from helping local pastors to a variety of clients locally and across the country via Zoom and FaceTime. He and his wife, Beverly Ann, have been married for 22 years and share a blended family of five adult children and six wonderful grandchildren. He loves running, golf, working with the local volunteer Fire Department, reading, writing, facilitating adult Sunday School classes, and playing games with his family. See more at:

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