Follow Your Nose

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

Psalm 107:8  

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word ‘gratia’, which means “grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.” At its deepest level gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is an attitude of thankful appreciation that shows a kindness received is valued. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people most often recognize that the source of goodness lies outside themselves which results in making a connection with God Himself.

Harvard Medical School reported in a study on gratitude that “two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.

One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week's assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.”

Biblically speaking, gratitude is a matter of life and death. The Bible teaches in Romans chapter 1 that at sins root is ingratitude. When men and women are no longer thankful there is a God you might say, “all hell breaks loose.” Contrast that with eternal life that begins with gratitude, being thankful for God’s goodness, His grace and mercy shown to us in that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

Having a grateful heart not only promotes physical and emotional health and well being which science has effectively proven over and over. A grateful heart also promotes spiritual health and well being which is of far greater benefit to those who seek and express it. I have a book in my library titled, “Your Attitude is the Key to your altitude” where pastor and author John Maxwell makes the connection between our attitudes and the altimeter of an airplane which is often referred to as an “attitude meter.” Pilots will often use the words “nose up” to signify the planes altimeter is reading up meaning the plane is climbing or “nose down” to say the plane is descending. As long as the planes nose is up its flying and conversely when it’s down, hopefully it’s landing and not crashing. People with healthy attitudes in life live “nose up” you can say, climbing above the clouds to new heights, where as people who have unhealthy attitudes tend to go through life, “nose down.” Are you living nose up or nose down today?

Here’s the good news today! Having an attitude of gratitude is a matter of choice not circumstances. You and I get to choose to be thankful today. Express your gratitude to God by being thankful. Follow the instructions laid out in God’s Word. Set your mind on the things up above! Meditate on that things that are good, pure and lovely. Try writing a note, sending a text or an email today to someone expressing your gratitude for them or thanking them specifically for a kindness that was shown to you. Remember, you can’t soar with the eagles if you are living among the chickens” the old saying goes. “An attitude of gratitude” is key to enjoying an emotionally healthy life and rising above the clouds of gloom and doom. Keep your nose up!

“Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.”

Psalm 63:4


Michael Osthimer





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