Can you be a bear? I am not talking about the big fury animal at the zoo, I am talking about a grouch, a nagger, ready to snap, growl or attack when you don’t get what you want. A complainer is someone who wants to fuss about everything, finding fault in every circumstance, idea or event. This kind of bear prevents people from liking or even wanting to be around you. No one wants to be around a bear. I have seen couples in marriage trouble because one of them was being a bear. Who wants to go home to a bear? Do you find your family or friends avoiding you lately? Could it be because you have been a bear? How can one tame a bear? Be thankful! We should be giving thanks at all times and places and for all things whether they are prosperous or not or if we get our way or not. All God’s people should be thankful. When you lose a thankful heart, you will start to grumble and complain about everything that may come your way. Though we are not always happy 24-7, we should be always giving thanks.
There is something about thankfulness. Research has actually shown that practicing thankfulness decreases depression and anxiety. Being thankful is gratitude, which defined, is the recognition that one has received a gift or benefit of personal gain. Gratitude really is an attitude, which is a mixture of thoughts and feelings, towards life that includes humility, thankfulness, and mindfulness of personal blessings. When this attitude is nurtured and encouraged, the grateful person experiences several strong effects. Some people feel the “heart warming” or a lightening of the spirit. People who practice the “attitude of gratitude” find that they are more content with their life circumstance than they were before being actively grateful. There is an increase in satisfaction with material goods, with health, and even with relationships. Research has shown that people who regularly practice thankfulness on average report a 25% increase in overall happiness. It is very difficult to be anxious or depressed when focusing on giving thanks.
There is a way to distinguish between praise and thankfulness. Praise adores God for who He is and thankfulness adores God for what He has done. We are to praise God always with our entire being. When we show thankfulness it is not just giving God information but it is noticing the beneficial end results in life with God being in control. It is giving God the glory. As we become more and more thankful, God grows dearer and our fellowship becomes sweeter.
If you have found yourself being a bear lately, take time to write down a list of what you are thankful for. Do this at the end of every day and read the day before. Research shows that just keeping a “thankfulness journal” for three weeks will result in better sleep and more energy. Furthermore, such benefits are shown to last for several months. If you tame this bear, you will find people will come around more often and you will be a much happier person.
I Thessalonians 5:18 In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.