The Struggle To Be Thankful
Do you remember when you were young and desired a glass of water? You would go to your mother and ask her, “Please may I have a drink of water?” While the water was still in her hand she would ask, “What do you say?” and if you didn’t reply “Thank you,” you didn’t receive the water until you responded correctly. It was even a struggle back then to be thankful.
Since it is Thanksgiving week, and I am pondering thankfulness, I thought I would share some of my thoughts. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with a fast “thank you” in prayer, and then overstuff ourselves with food the rest of the day as we go shop or watch the game.
My heart is not to discount anyone’s tradition, that’s not the point of this blog. The point is thankfulness. I don’t know if you struggle with thankfulness as I do, or if it comes easy for you. Wherever you find yourself on this issue, I hope to have you ponder on a few things.
At times, I may not be as thankful as I should and shame on me. You know, in the busyness of life, I think I forget to reflect and think about things that have occurred over the year that were blessings, and even the other things that didn’t seem a blessing at the time, but is now redirected.
For instance, my son has been interviewing for employment, and he thought this particular interview went really well. Yet, he wasn’t offered a job. At first, he was hurt, but then a couple of weeks later he received word that this company is getting ready to lay off people. I choose to think someone is looking out for him. Also, my sister who has been away from the Lord for over 25 years has come back to Him, and He is restoring all her relationships with her family. It is a beautiful miracle.
Another reason I believe I struggle with being thankful is at times my pride will interfere and I get to where I think I deserve something I really don’t, or maybe I become envious of someone or something others have. If I let this feeling fester, it is poisonous to my system, and I become the most ungrateful person. Therefore, any entitlement mentality is not allowed because it leaves me wanting instead of leaving me appreciative. Once I realize what is occurring, I remind myself of my haves and not my have-nots. Therefore, I need to look up and not around. Looking up reveals that I understand who provides for me.
I have noticed in my life that anytime I am not feeling very thankful, I need to do something for others. I will take a meal to someone sick or clean a house for someone who is overwhelmed. These actions always make me grateful for the things in my life and joy fills my heart.
For several months I faithfully would not get out of bed unless I said a few things in which I was thankful. Really, it never took long when I just pondered on the day before and how certain things did or didn’t happened. I could always be thankful for my family, my hubby’s job, and a home to live. Again, it is all perspective. I think I will begin this discipline again.
I think one of the best ways to be thankful is to remember what others do for you. To make sure you tell a table server what a great job they did. I love when we are somewhere, whether Walmart or a drive thru and my husband will always tell someone thanks for the smile. It is amazing how this brightens up their day and makes me more grateful for life.
Another step I must remember to take is to stop complaining. Sometimes, I think I complain because it is a habit. Anyway, I was in a store the other day going down the aisle getting my groceries for the big day, when I ran into a friend. We began discussing our children and some of their expenses. I was more on the complaining side, when she stated that she was thankful that she could afford to pay for these things. She proclaimed “We are so blessed to be able to provide for our children.” Of course, her words convicted me. I knew I needed a heart change. I got in the car and repented for my complaining. I am so blessed.
I think one of the reasons I might not be as grateful as I should be, is that I have so much. I think if most Americans would do a comparison to the rest of the world, we would realize the abundance in which we live. Having said that, I think it is a good exercise to give up something that is adored for a period of time. Yes, set it aside. When I fast from something for a while, it reminds me of how grateful I should be to certain things in my life. It is amazing how fasting brings humility and humility brings thankfulness.
Lastly, I have a good friend who has just adopted a seven year old girl. She adores this child who has been in and out of foster homes. However, she has noticed a proclivity in this precious child. She told me, “______ rarely is grateful for anything we do for her and my other daughter thanks me for everything.” She went on to say, “We must remind her to be thankful.”
I shared with my friend that just as Jesus taught us to pray, he also showed us how to be thankful as well. We as parents must make sure we are teaching our children to be thankful with our words and deeds. You have had years with your daughter pouring into her life to be thankful. Anyway, the best way to teach is to be an example.
There are a few things we can practice to build thankfulness in our lives…
Sit and reflect on how you have been blessed this year.
Go serve someone, humility is where thankfulness begins.
Look up and not around. When we look to God, we have so much in which to give thanks.
Even when you don’t feel thankful, say “Thank You” for three things in your life. We can learn to be thankful.
Give something up you love for a while.
Praise others for their contributions to your life, even a table server.
Entitlement mentality is not allowed.
Break the habit and stop complaining.
I am so thankful that God works on my heart daily. It is amazing how fast I may forget to say two simple words that mean so much…THANK YOU. The best thing about saying thank you is that my action reveals how much I value God and the people around me. This says it all…