Imagine celebrating National Complaining Day one day a year, followed by 364 days of Thanksgiving; would our world be a happier place? According to neuroscience research, gratitude can boost the neurotransmitter serotonin and activate the brain stem to produce dopamine – our brain’s joy chemical. The more we think grateful thoughts, the healthier and happier we feel.
Giving thanks or complaining is a choice; it’s a matter of focus. When focused on everything going wrong, we alert our nervous system to prepare for battle. The only problem is we need to hack our brain chemistry to activate the healthier, happier self.
“Oh, magnify the Lord with me,” cried the psalmist King David. [Psalm 34:3 NKJV] He invites those around him to shift their focus onto God and away from themselves. We tend to magnify and give our power to what holds our attention.
The great Apostle Paul reveals the secrets of an overcoming life: “Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And amid everything, always give thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you…” [1 Thessalonians 5:16-18] Paul taught there must be an internal focus and agreement with the reality of God’s Kingdom established on Truth rather than the destructive reality of the enemy’s kingdom, established on lies.
Whichever kingdom is more natural to us will influence our lives daily.
“The enemy uses lies to make problems appear bigger than the solutions we carry,” wrote Bill Johnson in his book Strengthen Yourself in The Lord. If our communion with the Lord is the power source of our lives, then, of course, the kingdom of darkness works diligently to distract and dislodge us from what brings victory.
We, therefore, disarm hell’s influence through Thanksgiving. Through gratitude, we break our agreement with the lies and agree with Heaven that our lives are a gift from God and He is sovereign.
Lord, we turn our eyes Heavenward this Thanksgiving season. Help us to see the miraculous from the mundane that surrounds us daily. We choose to give thanks in everything, opening the door for joy to flood our lives, and that joy is our strength.
Jeff Wittmer is a Certified Life Coach, entrepreneur, and trainer of coaches and leaders. He founded Burning Bush Life Coaching and California Coaching Collaborative, which offers Certification Credentials for Life Coaches. In addition to coaching, Jeff has been a lead pastor, church planter, motivational speaker, and most recently, an instructor at Bethel School of Ministry in Redding, California, where he lives with his lovely wife, Sheri, and the rest of his crew. Jeff’s goal as a communicator is to awaken people to their God-given brilliance, raising their spiritual intelligence and empowering them to live a more abundant and vibrant life.