Events can ignite awareness for thanksgiving. This week is certainly spattered with strokes of thankfulness – painted with ever-changing tones of gratitude.
There have been several studies toting the astounding effects of gratitude. The benefits are many:
- better and more fulfilling relationships
- improved physical and emotional health
- enhanced performance and job efficiency
- decreased levels of stress and improved sleep patterns
If you haven’t developed the practice of thanksgiving, how does one start? Most experts say just do it!
Just like an artist uses many tools to produce a masterpiece, here are a few tools to help us get started.
Start a journal listing at least one thing you are grateful for each day. It doesn’t need to be an earth-shaking event, start small! Writing things down helps us to develop the thought process more fully increasing retention of those thoughts.
Talk About It
Phone or write a note to someone you are thankful for; be specific about the impact they have made in your life. Talking with someone will not only reaffirm gratitude in you, but it may inspire others to appreciate something in their own lives.
“The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Expressing thankfulness is a great way to speak life into those around us. We all enjoy being around those who are willing and able to express appreciation and see things from a positive perspective.
Prayer and Meditation
Maybe you could start your journal with a bible verse about thanksgiving. Take a few moments to mediate on each verse asking God to make His word real to you.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
I have a special spot in my home, “my quiet spot”, where I find it easy to settle my thoughts and fix my focus on God’s. Sometimes a peaceful walk in nature is enough to provoke thoughts of gratitude and appreciation.
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Even our prayer requests and needs are opportunities to filter them through the lens of thanksgiving.
Remember, sometimes it is the little things that have the biggest impact.
“Let them praise the LORD for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
Ask God for Help
There are times when it is difficult to be thankful. If you are struggling to get out of a rut of discouragement , you certainly aren’t alone. The bible is full of examples of those who found them themselves in similar situations: Jonah, Elijah, David, and Job to name a few….
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
John chapter 6 gives an illustration of the power of thanksgiving. There were five thousand hungry people and only a small lunch of a few small loaves and fishes the share among them. But in the hands of Jesus, He “gave thanks”. All were filled and there was more to spare! Verse 23 affirms that giving thanks was a powerful element in the miracle.
In Every Circumstance
I have a friend who just a few days ago, gave his bicycle to someone who needed it. Being his only mode of transportation, we proceeded to purchase a new bike to get to and fro from work. Within a few hours his new bike was stolen leaving him frustrated and questioning. In the midst of the trial, he not only took the necessary steps to locate his bike, but also developed a deeper compassion for others in similar situations and need. Turns out he was able within the week to raise funds not only to replace his bike but supply two more bikes for others in need. That is the power of thanksgiving! Thanksgiving always multiplies and supplies!
Today is a new day! This is a new moment! May each of us look with new perspective and truly be thankful. We may not be able to thankful FOR the situations of life, but nothing can stop us from being thankful IN all our circumstances. An attitude of gratitude is possible. In fact, it may change your life!
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