Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – I Thessalonians 5:18
Much easier said than done, right?
How do you say thanks when your world is coming apart or when bad news is knocking at the door? What happens when your heart has just become dull to eternity all around you? Gratitude is the secret of changing everything and bringing heaven down to earth.
It really is a way of thinking a mindset that you develop over time. It’s all about your perspective and then it’s all about your habits.
Stop and think about someone else. We’re unconscious because we don’t spend the intentional and regular time it takes to cultivate thankful patterns of thought. We spend way too much effort and energy stewing about our losses, grievances and trials. These are so easy to remember. But usually, for most of us, too little time is invested in all that’s gone right in our lives. It just takes the will to stop and think about some truth…where you are, who you are and all the people and experiences that got you here… and are getting you there.
“Life for most of us is full of steep stairs to go puffing up and, later, of shaky stairs to totter down; and very early in the history of stairs must have come the invention of banisters.”
– Louis Kronenberger
Notice the path you’re on, how did you really get here? There are countless blessings, opportunities and significant people all along your way. Say thanks at every turn. Send a note of thanks right out of the blue. Acknowledge what is true, what is right. In so doing you will set things rightways in your own mind and spirit.
“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Stop long enough to speak the truth, to others and to yourself – you have so much to be thankful for. Speaking the truth helps to confirm what’s real and to chase away fear, doubt and second-guessing. Try and find a way to interject gratitude into your gossip. Start an email with a thank you. Call someone out of the blue and tell them how much they mean to you. Change the story you’re living by engaging in more truth-telling.
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Build habits, think about thanks and say thanks as often as you can. When you are around people and when you’re busy with your own stuff, you need to stop and notice things. When you do, you will find what needs to be appreciated. What needs to be expressed more often. Make a list. Take names. Keep a roll of stamps in your desk. Buy a box of thank you cards. Send out a handful of text messages every week. Before you start your busy day, think of a way to say thank you to someone and then do it.
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” – Saint Ambrose
When you fill up with thanks, it doesn’t leave much room for other stuff. “I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart…” (Psalm 138:1) When we are filling up our minds and hearts with thankfulness, it tends to push out the pessimism, anger, and sadness that so often weighs down our daily steps.
“Gratitude is the heart’s memory” – French proverb
Being thankful, no matter what, is God’s will for us. Let’s live today in His will. Let’s live in gratitude.