As we enter into Thanksgiving month, I think about all the “traditions” people have to count their blessings and claim a mindset of thankfulness for the month. Doing this is a great practice that helps fight discontentment, depression, and gives you new lenses on all the GOOD in your life. But being intentional to practice thankfulness is something we should do all the time, not just in November.
In my work, I come across many people who struggle to find anything to be thankful for regardless of the time of year. Life is crushing them, and they have trouble seeing a way out. Thankfulness is not a magical solution, but it is a shift in perspective that can help you look at life’s struggles differently.
When we just focus on the “if only” and the “I wish”, we miss out on what IS right around us. Being thankful helps you claim the realities that are right in front of you and not take them for granted.
Here’s a few thoughts to help you practice thankfulness and help us all begin this month with a positive perspective:
“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr
Sometimes we have to take a step back and see the good amidst the hard. All or nothing thinking makes it hard to do this well because it’s either all good or nothing is good. Looking for “some” can help us find thankfulness even in difficult times.
“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” -Tecumseh
This is convicting, isn’t it. We tend to take simple things for granted and get overwhelmed with discontentment. It’s easier to have gratitude when you can see the simple things that are life giving and sustaining as more valuable than all the “wants” we desire in life.
“In happy moments, PRAISE GOD; In difficult moments, SEEK GOD; In quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD; In painful moments, TRUST GOD; Every moment, THANK GOD.” – Rick Warren
No matter the moment, we can rest in the truth that God is in it and means for good to come from it. It’s hard for us to see this in times of suffering, but knowing that God is working in it gives us hope as we rely on God to get through it.
“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
When you have a spirit of thankfulness, it feels like you’ve won something. You value things more and see what is good around you. The rewards of a thankful heart benefit us, our loved ones, and our relationship with God.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18
Thankfulness isn’t just a ‘good idea’ for the holiday season, it’s a command that God wills for us. The ‘all circumstances’ part is extremely difficult, but it causes a heart fully dependent on God to make it through.
As you practice thankfulness this month, I hope you’ll see how beneficial it is to live this way every day!