30 Reasons to Give Thanks

jakob-owens-uE_N2i6-TRM-unsplash

With Christmas decorations crowding the aisles of most stores, it’s sometimes hard to focus on the beauty of the Thanksgiving season. I believe a heart filled with thankfulness is one of the best ways to prepare us for the Christmas season. It’s not about how we decorate on the outside that matters, it’s what is happening on the inside that really makes the holiday season beautiful.

Personally, I have found that an attitude of thankfulness changes the way I handle difficulties and walk through challenges. Every morning I take a moment to write down at least five blessings that happened over the last 24 hours. Sometimes it’s easy, but to be honest, there are days that I have to think hard about those things for which I can be grateful. The practice is a great discipline that helps me start my day with a positive perspective. I highly recommend it!

What are the benefits of being thankful? Here’s 30 reasons to ponder – one for each day this month!

  1. It takes your eyes off of yourself and your problems
  2. It strengthens your faith
  3. It blesses others
  4. It changes your perspective
  5. It makes you more delightful to be around
  6. It helps you see where God is working
  7. It makes a bad day better
  8. It is contagious
  9. It’s an act of worship
  10. It helps you stay focused on what is good and lovely
  11. It reminds you that God is in control
  12. It chases away a grumpy attitude
  13. It lifts the fog of thinking that nothing good ever happens
  14. It stretches you
  15. It encourages you to take one step forward out of grief or pain
  16. It helps you see the good in others
  17. It makes you less critical
  18. It helps you be more disciplined
  19. It challenges you to think outside the box
  20. It increases your observation skills
  21. It invites you to smile
  22. It encourages you to help others to look for the good
  23. It allows you to dig for something positive in the midst of a difficulty
  24. It strengthens relationships because you are focused on the good in others
  25. It helps you press on toward your goals by looking for inklings of hope
  26. It starts your day in a bright direction
  27. It can dispel the blues
  28. It increases your creativity
  29. It helps you to look at a situation from different angles
  30. It reminds you that God is worthy of our thanks every day because of His goodness and grace toward us

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever”  Psalm 118:29

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

 

True Positive: Day 16 – Helping Others

madi-robson-113926

Feeling blue? Consider doing something kind for someone else. It may be volunteering at a hospital or a dog shelter or at a local school. You could write a letter to someone who needs encouragement or cook a meal for someone who could use some help or even bring groceries to someone who can’t get out right now. When we reach out to help others, thinking of their needs, it gets our mind off of our own stuff and actually gives us a feeling of joy. Although our motivation for doing things for others shouldn’t be to please ourselves, it is a natural consequence and an added blessing.

A team of sociologist tracked a group of 2000 people over a 5-year period and discovered that those who described themselves as “very happy” also volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month.  Of course, there could be a number of reasons for this, but researchers believe that showing compassion gives people a neurochemical sense of reward as an emotional boost. For more benefits to helping others click here. Jesus spoke about showing kindness and love even to our enemies. He said, “Give and it will be given back to you, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be poured into your lap.”

Take one step today to reach out in kindness to another person.

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash

True Positive: Day 12 – Work

beautiful-15704__480

Our work can bring us joy, enrich our lives and even increase our positivity. Projects, chores or responsibilities give us a sense of accomplishment and commitment to a greater cause. Work often gives us the opportunity to serve others and to get our minds off of our own self-centered problems. We learn and grow as a person through hard work and perseverance. Certainly, we must be careful to keep a balance in life and not take on too many responsibilities which may increase stress. Additionally, we must avoid complaining and grumbling – which we will talk about in tomorrow’s post.

Let’s teach out kids that work is not something to be avoided, but rather something to be embraced. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ (Colossians 3:23,24).” Find joy in your work by thinking of your work as an opportunity to serve Christ. When you have down days (which we all do), ask God to give you a fresh viewpoint or a new perspective to help you see a greater purpose in your work.

Some of the happiest people I know are also some of the hardest working people I know. Don’t avoid work, embrace it and discover a new strength and confidence as a result.

Are You Flexible?

 

jason-ortego-5386

A friend once told me, “A flexible woman rarely gets bent out of shape.” I like that! Plans change, challenges arise and mistakes happen. We must remain flexible in the process. A flexible woman looks for alternative plans and wise options. A flexible woman doesn’t sit back and say, “This is the way we have always done it.” She recognizes the opportunity to jump into action instead of stewing in anger or fear. An old Japanese proverbs states, “The bamboo which bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”

How do we grow to be flexible in God’s hands? It begins in our belief system. If we believe that God is sovereign and that He loves us, we can look to Him as the winds of change or challenge blow through our lives. Our faith changes the way we respond to circumstances. Knowing He is the God who sees all, keeps us from despair.  We can respond to situations with the calm assurance that God will never leave us and that His hand will guide us. We can say to ourselves, “Although this is not what I planned, I can trust God will bring something good out of this situation.”

We can learn to be flexible and respond with grace when our eyes are on the Lord and our trust is in His plan. There are no guarantees about what tomorrow will bring, but we do know we are not alone in the battles we face. We can put our faith into action and move forward to make a difference in a seemingly impossible situation.  The following poem reminds us of the difference our faith makes in how we view our circumstances.

My Father’s way may twist and turn,

My heart my throb and ache.

But in my soul I’m glad I know,

He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astraiy,

My hopes may fade away,

But still I’ll trust my Lord to lead,

For He doth know the way,

Tho’night be dark and it may seem

That day will never break,

I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,

He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much I cannot see,

My eyesight far too dim,

But come what may, I’ll simply trust

And leave it all to Him.

For bye and bye the mist will lift,

And plain it all He’ll make.

Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,

He maketh not one mistake!

Author Unknown

 

We can trust God’s sovereign grace in whatever comes our way, and live with assurance that He will walk with us. We don’t need to fret or complain, just advance with a humble trust in the God who loves us and has a big and beautiful plan. Step forward, my friend, with your eyes on Him and your faith in the work He has yet to do in your life.

 

This is an excerpt from Positive Life Principles for Women.  On sale now for $5. Click here for more info: