Let me be honest. Giving thanks does not come naturally to me. Don’t get me wrong. I am aware of, and thankful for, all the blessings and goodness and unearned privilege I receive in my life. I am, to the depths of my heart, thankful for my faith, my family, and my friends.
In the daily though, what I always see first is how something could be better, could be more, could be complete. As an enneagram one, I’ve found that thankfulness is something I have to choose to focus on. I have to consider it a spiritual discipline. I have to make a practice of it.
I’ve found that I have to stop regularly throughout the day, take a deep breath, and appreciate what is right, good, true, beautiful. I have to incorporate intentional moments into my day for noticing and then giving thanks.
The cardinal at the bird feeder.
The smell of clean laundry.
The rainbow of pinks in the sunset.
In these times of uncertainty I must, all the more, make a conscious decision to “give thanks in all circumstances” as Paul instructs in Thessalonians 5:18. I need to remember that no matter what is going on there are always reasons to be thankful.
The tapping of the rain on the window.
The smell of bread baking in the oven.
The technology that allows connection to family and friends.
I also need to remind myself of what I know to be true– that appreciation spoken to people and thanksgiving offered to God always brings peace to my soul. It gives me a proper perspective.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When I create space and lean into the small things I am thankful for, I also become more aware and appreciative of the big things. In this posture of thanksgiving, I find it easier to “put on love” and “the peace of Christ” really will rule in my heart (Col.3:14-15). Additionally, in making an effort to be thankful, I become more thankful. I find it easier to notice an ever-widening view of “thankfuls.”
The fresh flowers on the table.
The laughter of grandchildren.
The phone call, just to talk.
Maybe your personality is like mine and thankfulness doesn’t come naturally. Maybe thankfulness comes easily for you. Regardless, a thankful posture will bring peace to your soul and joy to your heart.
For all of us it is likely a good time to live out the old song:
♫ Count your blessings
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings
See what God has done. ♫
♫ “Count Your Blessings” by Guy Penrod