Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart
(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Life is ever-changing. We make our plans, but God establishes our steps. As I think back over the last few months and the changes I went through, and what I hoped to accomplish, many things didn't get done. I had plans, but God interrupted them. I'm not even sure I can adequately explain what God was doing, but it was deep soul searching and revisiting my childhood upbringing, and what I was taught. I discovered a few things like the New Apostolic Reformation movement that seriously stopped me in my tracks. I had felt so safe in my faith. And now it was being challenged. I wrote about what I was discovering and where I was headed, and then God shifted things again. At this point, I don't know where God is taking me on this journey, but it is anything but dull. And I am thankful for this new path.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and family is coming tonight. It will be smaller than in the past, but I am thankful nonetheless. I love my family. I don't show it as much as I could, but I am grateful we all get along and genuinely enjoy being together. I consider them a huge blessing. I hope this Thanksgiving you have a chance to reflect on what you are thankful for and the many blessings you have.
This past Sunday, my pastor encouraged us to write five things each day we are thankful for over a period of five days (for a total of twenty-five things). He called this being a good finder. It's being intentional about finding the things you are thankful for. When we stop to think for a moment, it's not that hard to come up with something. Doing this assignment has helped me focus on my blessings rather than the things that go wrong. And there are plenty of things that go wrong. Or maybe it's a matter of perspective.
Next, my pastor told us to be great binders. That means getting rid of the things that give us mixed results like grumbling and complaining. Often, if you are like me, you grumble without much thought. Once you realize it though, you can bind it in the name of Jesus. You can take the thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. It's a choice and a matter of letting go of your will and letting God shift your thinking.
Third, we were told to be a bit kinder. Gratitude breeds kindness. When you are thankful, you feel better, and when you feel better, it's easier to be kind to others. So, it goes back to being intentional about being a good finder. Scripture talks a lot about the benefits of kindness. Proverbs 11:16-17 says, "A kindhearted woman gains respect," and "a kind man benefits himself." Proverbs 14:21& 31 tells us that a person who is kind to the needy is blessed and honors God. Being kind is a fruit of the Spirit and an attribute of love.
Lastly, give yourself a reminder. Gratitude is a choice, and by focusing on it for five days week, it hopefully sets me up to be more thankful from here on out. I am not naturally a person who is filled with gratitude, and I know it will take practice and reminders. I remember hearing about a woman who put reoccurring reminders in her phone for things like choosing joy, or kindness. So that is what I'm going to do. We can do our part, and then expect God to do the rest.
Everyone, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! I pray you are filled with grateful hearts!