As we head into thanksgiving week, I think it’s important to acknowledge all the good things we are thankful for. I believe it's also important to acknowledge how to live like we are thankful, too. I know this time of year can be hard on some, especially with how 2020 has gone. So, the holidays may look very different for some this year. You may not be able to be surrounded by family, but I want us to look at all the ways to make a habit of being thankful and focusing on the good.
Create habits can help you become more thankful:
- Regularly practice giving thanks
We should make a habit of expressing gratitude. Thankfulness rather than criticism should be our default position. When you see something good in your life, point it out! Thank God for it. We all tend to complain occasionally, but practice responding to your own complaining by finding things to be thankful for. This helps to flip your mindset recognizing the good in your life over the bad going on.
- Express gratitude regardless of the situation.
Paul tells the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances because that’s what God wants (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Why? We never see the full picture. We can’t look at every situation and clearly understand why it’s happening. If we we try to, we’re just fogging our minds from what God is trying to do. We can only know God is at work in these situations and working them out for our good and his glory (Romans 8:28).
Regardless of what’s happening, we can thank God for his presence. He is redeeming the situation and sustaining us through it. On our own, we focus on the current situation. We rise above the situation when we purposefully look for what God is doing in the middle of it.
- Praise God when all is well.
You may think that this is obvious, but it’s critical we do it. We’re conditioned to believe that life will go well for us. When life runs smoothly, we don’t tend to see this as God’s gift to us. We don’t see how He protects and guides us along the way to green pastures and still waters.
- Learn to see how bad experiences can produce good outcomes.
We should all take some time to consider the benefits of the difficult times in our lives. After some time away from the situation, we should be able to see the good that came out of those experiences. Often you’ll be able to see how those bad experiences helped you gather strength and momentum for future blessings in your life. Regardless of that, learning to see past trials through eternity’s perspective enables us to be more thankful during times of struggle.
- Make gratitude a part of your interactions with other people.
Gratitude should impact both our relationship with God and our relationships with other people. Make it a regular practice to say thank you to people in your life. Often, the people we express gratitude with the least in our lives are those the closest to us.
- Lean into the strength gratitude provides.
I know many people who have been through extremely tough situations. I’ve noticed those who are the most grateful and have learned to see God’s work regularly show the most perseverance.
Thanksgiving is a superpower! It enables us to see past our experiences and embrace how God is moving. Not only are thankful people able to draw strength from gratitude, but they’re also able to empower others with their perspective as well. Begin to practice all of these this week. Have a great thanksgiving!