Thankfulness, or thanksgiving, is a choice. It fits beautifully with the concept that "my response is my responsibility." I don't always get to choose the things that happen in my life - the events and circumstances that happen to me, my family, or my kids - but I do get to choose my response.
Have you ever wondered how the verse in I Thessalonians plays out? "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Does the writer really mean to give thanks in ALL circumstances? How can that be?
What about in death, poverty, unfairness, or abuse? What if you can't pay the bills, your car is on it's last leg, and you can't afford a gift for your child's birthday? What about sickness, cancer, and other mysterious diseases, especially in children? And what about others who accuse and blame all day long?
The answer is the same: Give thanks. It's a choice.
Whatever your circumstance looks like, regardless of how little hope you feel for things to turn around . . . choose thanksgiving.
This reminds me of a conversation I had with my daughter who was struggling with graphing in math. She simply didn't want to do it; it was challenging her and she was quite impatient with the whole process. She kept saying, "Ugh, I hate graphing." I asked her to simply choose a new story by saying new words: Say, "I love graphing" every time your pencil touches that graph.
I had the same conversation with a small group of my friends, too (although not about math!) Their response, and my daughter's, was, "If I say those words I'm just lying." It might feel like lying, but couldn't we say the same thing about hating graphing? It might not be her favorite or maybe she just hasn't figured it out yet. Whatever the reason, she gets to choose her response. She gets to write her own story about what is happening and how she is responding. She has a choice!
The same is true of giving thanks. It is a choice and sometimes we just have to spit out the words of thanksgiving in order to change the feelings in our hearts. This also gives us new vision and allows us to see things from a thankful heart that are impossible to see from an ungrateful heart.
If you are having trouble speaking words of thanksgiving, try reading aloud some of these verses from The Message Bible:
Jonah spoke this from the belly of the whale, "Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O God, my God! When my life was slipping away, I remembered God, And my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple. Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love. But I'm worshiping you, God calling out in thanksgiving!" -Jonah 2
Don't talk dirty or silly. That kind of talk doesn't fit our style. Thanksgiving is our dialect. -Ephesians 5
School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. -Colossians 2
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. -I Thessalonians
Admittedly, it is sometimes very difficult to be thankful; however, it is an essential part of an extraordinary life. Are you growing in your ability to be thankful? What better time to give it a try or a boost of improvement than on a holiday with that very name: Thanksgiving.
My name is Traci, and I love sharing insights that challenge and encourage people to be the best version of themselves. Click HERE to receive updates from Be Extraordinary!