Time for Thanks, Day 1

This topic may be a little overdone in the coming days, but who can resist talking about thankfulness (aka gratitude) during the month of November? Today at Bible study, my group was a little surprised at how, despite the lesson subtitles referring to other topics, our conversation kept turning to giving thanks. Then I was reminded that last year, I did a little thankful blog post for every day in November. I thought I had had a wonderful epiphany and that I should do that again, with this being November 1st, and then saw that my idea was anything but original. Everybody's jumping on the thankful bandwagon this month, on Facebook, blogs, etc. But really, that's something to be thankful for! :) What better thing to remind us each to stop and give thanks than seeing all of our "friends" doing the same thing?

While this season is filled with reminders to be thankful, I'm seeing more and more how my entire life should be characterized by gratitude. As a believer in Jesus Christ, when my name comes up in conversation, I want people to have thoughts of a thankful, positive person come into their minds. When someone sees me coming toward them down the hallway, I want their spirits to lift just a bit, anticipating an encouraging encounter. I do not want to be that person who sends people's eyes darting here and there looking for any viable exit to avoid crossing my path. (Surely you know what I'm talking about.)

Thankfulness should be a pervading attitude of our lives, not just a random thrown up comment here and there. It's an indicator of the health of our relationship with God. When our thoughts, words, and attitudes are filled with appreciation, it shows that we trust God's promises, plans, and character. On the other hand, discontentment and grumbling displays a heart that has a problem with the way God is handling our lives. We are screaming to him, "You're making a mess of things and I don't appreciate it. I'd rather be handling this myself. Obviously, you either a) don't know what you're doing or b) you don't love me."

If I love and trust the Lord, then I see him as my provider and the giver of all good things. All the "good things" in my life remind me of him and prompt me to stop and give thanks.

If I love and trust the Lord, I can be thankful, and even joyful, for the trials that cross my path as well, because I believe him when he says that he's using them all to make me more like Christ and I believe that knowing and being like Christ is way better than having an easy life here and now.

If I want my life to be a fragrant offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma that draws people to Jesus, then it has to be overflowing with thankfulness. Unfortunately, most of my life, I've been oozing with complaints rather than spilling over with gratitude. But, over time, the Lord has begun to give me that heavenly perspective I've been begging him for and that has resulted in a more thankful heart.

So, as I tell my little Luke, who gets so discouraged when he can't write his letters right the first time, we need to practice. This month, I want to practice and prepare for living a thankful life...a life that shouts of the goodness of my God and the wisdom of his ways. I want to practice being thankful for the big things and the little things, for the good things and the hard things, for the happy things and the sad things, because someone who believes that their God is working all those things together for their good definitely has reason to give thanks.

On this first day of the lovely month of November, I'm thankful for November! I love fall (which really means October, too) and the way God shows off through his creation. I'm thankful for the five senses he's given me to take it all in, to see him through his creative masterpiece called nature, to feel the wind blowing over my face, to smell those evening fires with marshmallows roasting over them, to hear the crunching of the leaves and the laughter of my children, and to taste the yummy pumpkin and caramel apple treats of the season. Only God could create such an overtly beautiful season, full of color and crispness and life. I want to drink it all in and enjoy every minute, and it's a reminder to me to drink in all of God and enjoy him immensely. How could I experience the richness of God without being THANKFUL?


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