30 Reasons to Give Thanks

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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

 

3 Things to Forget, One thing to Remember

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Thanksgiving is all about remembering. It’s about reflecting on what God his done and His blessings in our lives. When it comes to life, we never want to forget the goodness of God. Our thankful hearts show that we trust His love and believe He can bring good even out of the worst situations.

As important as it is to remember and reflect on God’s goodness and blessings, there are several things we need to forget. The apostle Paul put it this way, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

So what past things should we forget? Here’s three that come to mind:

Past mistakes – Most of us tend to beat ourselves up over mistakes we have made even years ago. We must recognize that we all make mistakes, but we can always learn from them. Don’t let your mistakes define you. Move forward and be who God created you to be.

Past sins – As believers in Christ, our sins are forgiven. Paul wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s not a license to continue to sin, rather with a thankful heart we turn and repent and go a different direction. Christ came to free us from the burden of guilt and allow us to live in the joy of forgiveness.

Past offenses by others – It’s easy replay the hurts people have done to us in the past. Bitterness, anger and unforgiveness can fester in our memories for years. Let’s stop replaying the hurts and wounds. As forgiven people, we too must live a life of forgiving others. This Thanksgiving, may we release the right to hold past offenses over someone else.

I love to see the pictures on Instagram of Thanksgiving tables as people gather with family and friends. Although the food and decorations are lovely, keep in mind that there is nothing more beautiful than a thankful heart, and nothing more ugly than an unforgiving heart (whether it is not forgiving yourself or others). May your table be stunning as it overflows with thankfulness this year, leaving the negatives of the past behind you.

 

Photo by Cala on Unsplash

True Positive: Day Five – Thankfulness

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Want to become a more positive person? Begin a daily routine of giving thanks, and it will change your perspective and outlook on life. When you take a moment to consider the blessings you have encountered over the last 24 hours and reflect on the things you can be glad about, you begin to see that life isn’t as bad as it may seem at times. There are good things happening to us each day, but we have to be looking for them.

Harvard Health Publications from Harvard Medical School wrote this:

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

For me personally, I write in a journal every morning while I enjoy my first cup of coffee. I intentionally make a list of at least five things I can be grateful for – but my list always goes much longer than simply five! Once I start recounting all the Lord has done or recalling the people I encountered, I can’t help but smile. If I am facing a challenge, I try to consider one thing I can be thankful in the midst of the challenge. This practice can literally transform a grumbly person into a happy one -I know, because that’s what it did for me!

How to Be a Thankful Person

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Thankfulness is a game-changer! It’s one simple attitude that can make a monumental difference in your personal relationships, your work and your outlook on life. I know it may sound simplistic to say that being a thankful person can have such a powerful impact on our lives, but this one mind-shift has the potential to transform your actions and interactions with others. So how can a person develop an attitude of gratitude? Here are a few ways to redirect your thought-life and make positive difference in the world.

  1. Write it down. Start the habit of writing down your blessings in a thankfulness journal every morning as you enjoy your first cup of coffee. Write down at least five things that happened over the last 24 hours for which you can be thankful. You will begin to notice and pay attention to all the good things in your life, rather than being overwhelmed with the negative.
  2. Turn around challenges. When you face frustrations, mistakes, difficulties or challenges, instead of thinking that the world is against you, look for something good. Every challenge has a silver lining, but you must look (sometimes long and hard) to find it. Keep your focus on the benefits and what you can learn from your difficulties.
  3. See the best in others. There are no perfect people. Everyone has their own set of flaws, but thankful people choose to find something good in everyone. It’s easy to focus on people’s negative qualities, so it takes a deliberate effort to look for the good points in others. It’s a choice, but one that will turn your relationships around and open up your heart to the people around you.
  4. Stop grumbling. It’s time to get rid of the complaints and use your time and energy to do something positive. Negative talk only leads to discouragement, bitterness and anger. When you are tempted to grumble, save your words and find something productive you can do to make a difference. Turn grumbling into gratitude through loving actions.
  5. Step back and look at the bigger picture. Often we get worried and upset over circumstances and events, but if we step back and look at the bigger picture we can gain perspective. Often I ask myself, “In the big scheme of life, how much does this really matter?” When we look at things in light of eternity, it reduces our fears and opens our hearts to the opportunity to find blessings in the long run. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “Our light, momentary afflictions are producing in us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen, but the things that are unseen.” Now that’s the perspective of someone with an attitude of gratitude!

Be a grateful person and you will become happy and content with life. It begins with simple habits formed over time to change your perspective. Most important, start each day thanking God for His unfailing love. Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving every day of the year!

 

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.

Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

…How kind the Lord is! How good he is!

So merciful, this God of ours!

…I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.

Psalm 116:1,2,5,17