We just turned past the corner of Thanksgiving, the time we step back and remember all we can be thankful for.
I think most of us make an effort to be thankful on Thanksgiving, but what about the week after?
How about the rest of the year?
You may not realize it, but the Bible actually has a lot to say about gratitude and thankfulness.
Check out these two verses:
God places an emphasis on thankfulness, and the 1 Thessalonians verse says thankfulness “is God’s will for you”.
So how can achieve thankfulness on a daily basis?
How can we keep a constant awareness to see every blessing in our lives?
Not everyone is a natural optimist, but developing a positive attitude goes a long way in being thankful.
When I’m swamped with school or work it’s hard for me to find the positives.
But there are many positives in any situation.
The fact I have the opportunity to go to school, own a laptop, have access to books and the internet are a few positives that I can remember and turn my attitude from stress into peace and thankfulness.
If you actively look for the positives in any situation you will see your attitude change and begin to develop a positive outlook toward life.
It takes practice, but it’s worth it.
Each day I find there are so many things to complain about.
The house is too cold, traffic is too slow, or “there isn’t anything to eat” in my fully-stocked fridge.
I need to be mindful of the situations when I complain the most so that I can consciously look for reasons to be thankful instead.
I've noticed that personally, I complain the most when my usual comforts aren’t present. But I'm learning to see what I can be thankful for in those situations.
I’m thankful for cocooning in blankets when it’s cold in the house, I’m thankful for the people that let me merge despite the busy traffic, and I’m thankful my fridge is fully-stocked.
Your complaints may be small, they may be big, but you can always find reasons to be thankful instead.
So many celebrities, who have massive homes, endless piles of stuff, and millions of dollars in their bank accounts are not content.
The fact that people who have everything they want still aren’t happy goes against my natural intuition.
It’s a bit shocking.
But here’s a fact that is even more shocking: there are people who own next to nothing who are content and even joyful.
If anything is clear it’s this: the source of contentment is internal, not external.
No amount of stuff can make us content. It’s a state of mind that can be reached despite our circumstances in life.
We always want more things, more convenience, more comfort, but if we don’t appreciate the life we have, we won’t appreciate our life + more stuff.
Be thankful and content for your life and the things that you have now.
My brother and his dorm had an interesting strategy for combating complaining.
During Lent, they gave up complaining by having guys in the dorm keep them accountable.
If they complained, they did 5 pushups.
Now I’m not recommending that everyone assign a punishment for complaining, but others can spot our bad attitudes more easily than we can.
Get a spouse, parent, sibling, or close friend help you grow more thankful.
It will improve your relationship together, and help you realize the blessings God gives you each day!
Many students write down notes in class because the acts of thinking it, writing it, and reading it as you write helps your mind to solidify facts.
Do the same with what you’re thankful for!
Write down 3-5 blessings you received through your day, and if you noticed common complaints, write those down too in order to be mindful of them tomorrow!
Telling someone you are thankful for them adds joy to your life and theirs.
When I need to vent my frustrations, I get angrier and more frustrated as I talk.
The same happens when I’m thankful and blessed except when I start sharing what I’m thankful for, joy and excitement flow from me instead.
So tell someone about what you’re thankful for, and let them know you’re thankful for them.
This one is hard.
There are so many hurtful and sorrowful moments in life.
Friends and family pass away, jobs are lost, and money isn’t always available.
In these moments, when everything seems broken, how can we remain thankful?
Thankfulness isn’t about just being happy or joyful. Sometimes thankfulness is most valuable in the midst of pain.
The day before Jesus died, he ate his last supper with his disciples. During this time, as he was about to eat, the Bible records ,
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” - Luke 22:17-19
During this supper, less than 24 hours until he would be on the Mount of Olives where he would be praying in anguish, Jesus gave thanks.
He was about to go through the worst death a man could endure, but he still gave thanks.
I want to be clear. We are not called to always be thankful for every part of terrible situations.
If a family member passes away, don’t confuse this to mean you must be thankful that they have passed, but instead be thankful for the time you were given with them.
God doesn’t ask you to be thankful for everything that happens, but to trust in him, and be thankful that he’s been faithful in the past and will be again.
Even when it hurts, give thanks
Thankfulness isn’t reserved for a holiday.
Thankfulness is a way of life.
It takes work and effort to develop a thankful attitude, but practice these tips and you will see a transformation in your life.
Being thankful is not God’s will for you for no reason.
When you’re thankful, you’re also more joyful, which gives him more glory and helps you to share His goodness with others.
The time to be thankful is now.
What are you thankful for today?
Luke is currently a Junior at Grand Valley State University where he is studying Computer Science with a minor in mathematics. He loves being with friends at college but loves being home with his family and girlfriend too. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the future but is excited to see God move and work in his life.