The good life begins, not when circumstances change, but when our attitude toward them does. Look again at his antidote for anxiety. “Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7).
Paul embedded in the verses two essential words that deserve special attention: with thanksgiving. Sprinkled among your phrases “Help me . . . ,” “Please give me . . . ,” “Won’t you show me . . .” should be two wonderful words: Thank you.
Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life. It is the greatest of virtues. Studies have linked the emotion with a variety of positive effects. Grateful people tend to be more empathetic and forgiving of others. People who keep a gratitude journal are more likely to have a positive outlook on life. Grateful individuals demonstrate less envy, materialism, and self-centeredness. Gratitude improves self-esteem and enhances relationships, quality of sleep, and longevity.1 If it came in pill form, gratitude would be deemed the miracle cure. It’s no wonder, then, that God’s anxiety therapy includes a large, delightful dollop of gratitude.
God’s anxiety therapy includes a large, delightful dollop of gratitude.
Gratitude leads us off the riverbank of If Only and escorts us into the fertile valley of Already. The anxious heart says, “Lord, if only I had this, that, or the other, I’d be okay.” The grateful heart says, “Oh, look! You’ve already given me this, that, and the other. Thank you, God.”
Max Lucado, Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017).