Thankful Living

Thankful Living

During this Thanksgiving time it can be easy to express thanks to others as well as thanks to God.  Certainly it is a tradition in America, and as in most holidays, there is a purpose to the holiday – it is to remember.  Remembering is good – it helps us to keep connected to our family or our culture or God.

In ancient times, they would remember by building a pile of loose rocks.  The loose rocks would stand for many years.  When people would pass by, they would remember and tell the next generation the story and reason for the pile of rocks.  These early monuments helped people to recall how God had worked in their lives.  We so easily forget the good things that have happened and focus on current problems.  Reminders are good.

Holidays serve the same function; they help us to remember the good things and recall the stories of the past.  Hopefully these are good memories of happy times.

But whatever the past, we can choose to remember and be Thankful.  As the Young Frankenstein movie noted, “could be worse… could be raining” – and then it starts raining.  Its easy to think of current circumstances and focus on what’s missing or disappointments. It can take effort to change the focus of our thoughts to being positive and appreciative.  We can also choose to be Thankful and express appreciation.

Appreciation is a muscle that can atrophy with lack of use and build strength with effort.  Expressing appreciation to those who serve you such as wait staff, host staff, grocery store staff, etc.  The daily interactions we have with people throughout the day can be expressions of gratitude. People will notice.  People will appreciate the smile and the thank yous.  Verbal expressions of honest praise and appreciation can be just as valuable as a raise.  Such is the case for me at work.  When my manager notices accomplishments and says “good job, thank you”, it is a motivation that can last for weeks.  As Mark Twain said, “I can live for 3 months on a good compliment.”  I can still remember some compliments from years back.

And then expressions of gratitude toward God works the same way.  It helps to reduce our pride and thinking that I have attained everything I have by my own strength and will and might.  When in reality, it can all change very quickly with a car accident or serious medical report, or betrayal from a financial partner or other relationship.  So much of life circumstances is not in our control.  HOW WE RESPOND to these circumstance is TOTALLY in our control.  So being able to recognize the positive and express gratitude helps is to overcome difficult times and live with a fulfilling focus on others.

It is so ironic that when we focus on ourselves, we tend to never be content or satisfied.  However, when we give to others, we find meaning, purpose and fulfillment… which translates into contentment.  Showing gratitude and thanksgiving as a way of live takes the emphasis off myself and gives the focus to others – to caring for them, to serving them, to appreciating them.

While we cannot control how they respond, we are still giving to them.  Just as giving someone a gift can be rewarding, we cannot control how they receive the gift.  We cannot control their response, their use of the gift, or even if they re-gift or sell it on ebay.  Yet, it does not matter how they respond if the gift is given from the heart.

So it is with giving Thanks.  Give the gift of thanks to others and to God this Thanksgiving.  But not just 1 day, but all year. And you will find a new perspective on life.

Thank you for taking time to read this blog.  God’s best Blessings to you today and all year long.

Dana

 

 

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