Being thankful has myriad benefits.

Being thankful rewards us with better health, cheerier dispositions and deeper, more meaningful relationships.

Thankful people enjoy a stronger sense of well-being, suffer fewer symptoms of depression and are less likely to seek revenge against others. They are more likely to have empathy for others.

We are told in Scripture, “In everything give thanks.” It is a directive straight from God, recorded by Paul. It is a divine expectation.

So how do you develop a habit of thankfulness?

1. Go without.

To gain a whole new level of appreciation and accelerate your thankfulness, go without something you take for granted!

Spend a day doing without food or electricity or hot water. Sleep on the floor a couple of nights. Give up sugar or coffee for a day or two. Spend a day or a week without television or radio or internet. Trust me, going without jumpstarts thankfulness.

2. Speak out thankfulness.

If you’re not ready to forego running water … spend a bit of time every day thanking God. You can speak it out or journal it, but see how many items you come up with. These are the first 25 in my journal.

  1. My salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  2. Mr. 4-Ever.
  3. The kids.
  4. My parents.
  5. Holy Spirit guidance.
  6. Flannel sheets, slinky sheets and clean sheets.
  7. Heat in my house.
  8. A closet full of clothing.
  9. The color green.
  10. Appliances: refrigerator, washer, dryer, garbage disposal, etc.
  11. The work and ministry I do.
  12. All the safety I enjoy every day.
  13. Bills that are paid.
  14. My worn out Bible. 
  15. The taste of raspberries.
  16. Freedom to vote.
  17. Ability to read.
  18. Coffee, tea, soda pop.
  19. Clean water – hot and cold.
  20. Medicine.
  21. First responders.
  22. Indoor plumbing
  23. Mail service.
  24. Music.
  25. Kissing.

Thanking God reminds us of God’s faithfulness to us and the authority he holds in our lives.

3. Be thankful in all things – even if they’re hard.

Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, wrote: “The best way to demonstrate faith is to say ‘Thank You.'”

You don’t have to be thankful FOR rotten things, but you can and should be thankful in the midst of them. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”

Find the silver lining. Look for the small bright spot in the situation. When my kids moved out, I suffered in my empty nest, but was thankful for how clean my house stayed.

In my grief after my man died, I lost all the weight I’d fought against for a decade.

When my mom was hospitalized with cancer, I got to spend lots of time with her.

All these hard seasons had a spot of hope or joy in the midst of them.

Thankfulness is character building and leads to a better emotional state, improved relationships, and clearer understanding of God’s heart.

Friend, I wish you the very best Thanksgiving. I hope your jello sets and your marshmallows don’t burn. May your turkey get done on time and be juicy and delicious. May the people at your table encounter Christ through you and may you spread thankfulness habitually!

What are you most thankful for and how can you develop deeper gratitude. Leave me a comment below! I read every one.

Verse of the day: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

Prayer: Father God, show my how very much I have to be thankful for. I know I lean towards grumbling, sorry about that. Remind me to be grateful fall all the things you’ve done for me and provided to me. In Jesus name. amen.

19 Comments

  1. Susan on November 21, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    I never take my creature comforts for granted. It may seem shallow but I am very grateful for my bed – especially when I stay in someone else’s home. I do not take it for granted. My bed was gifted to me by my late mother and is a luxury I could not afford at the time.
    There are countless things to be grateful for but right now I am actually grateful for the difficult season I am in because God is teaching me to be still, to wait and to rely on Him. I am learning how to have a quiet spirit and to be gentle towards someone whose addictive behaviors are directly impacting my life. Without God this journey would be different.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 22, 2021 at 1:55 am

      Wow you really get it! God does not promise ease, but he does promise his presence. I admire your maturity and attitude. Thanks for posting

  2. Carole on November 21, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    I am thankful that I attended the women’s conference last week and had the opportunity to hear how God showed up in your life. It helps to hear other people’s testimony to put our own in perspective. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be blessed every day for one small thing.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 22, 2021 at 1:54 am

      Indeed Carole! Thanks for posting.

  3. Noreen Van Buren on November 21, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    I am truly blessed!! To God be the Glory great things He has done. Happy Thanksgiving..
    My 8th cancer free Thanksgiving.???

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 22, 2021 at 1:53 am

      Yes! Here’s to many more cancer-free years!

  4. Mary Hobbs on November 22, 2021 at 12:05 am

    Those verses in Thessalonians became my mantra a few years ago. I begin and end each day giving thanks. I make an effort to show appreciation to others. My life has not been perfect, but I have been blessed, and I am grateful . It’s not always easy! When I had a pinched nerve that caused excruciating pain, I was challenged to find joy and be thankful, but I did. You can bet I prayed without ceasing! When my dad was dying, he did not want me to do a eulogy, so instead I thanked all those neighbors, friends, relatives, etc who had been there for my dad. I firmly believe that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for!

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 22, 2021 at 1:53 am

      Hi Mary, Wow, you’re an inspiration.
      I think you are very creative to honor your dad and his wishes.

  5. Loretta Miller on November 22, 2021 at 1:20 am

    This is Loretta Miller. I received your note yesterday. Thanks for taking the time to ready my story. I will get back to you with answers to your questions shortly. About two weeks ago I had a cardiologist appointment and ended up being taken from there by ambulance to the hospital. Ended up with a heart ablation. It was only to be an hour long but ended up taking four hours.

    I will get back to you in a few days with answers to those questions. Still moving/thinking a little slow.

    Have a great Thanksgiving. I am thankful this year to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving again with my family who is in Florida. God is so good. I am so thankful that he never leaves us or forsakes us.

    May God bless you and your ministry.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 22, 2021 at 1:52 am

      Take care of you, Lorett.Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. Carlene Perrine on November 22, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Thank you for your notes. I read them each time. This last one reminds me of all I have to be thankful for. It has been a tough year physically for me but all I have to do is look around and see people that are much worse than I am. It is then that I thank God for my life. Have a very happy Thanksgiving.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 22, 2021 at 1:51 am

      Hi Carlene, Sorry you’ve had health challenges. So glad to hear you’re finding things to be thankful for.

      • Sterling Dimmick on November 22, 2021 at 2:33 am

        I am thankful for Jesus and the Saving Grace so freely offered to all who receive! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

        • Robyn Dykstra on November 22, 2021 at 3:26 pm

          Amen to that Sterling! Thanks for posting.

  7. Lauren Befus on November 22, 2021 at 10:33 am

    I loved reading your list! It got me thinking of a bunch of things I’m thankful for! Great post! ????

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 22, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      Hey Lauren, thanks for posting. Appreciate you!

  8. Jan Strkey on November 27, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    This Thanksgiving was extra special. I have two daughters that have not spoken to each other for almost a year. The older daughter reached out to the younger one a few months ago but got minimal responses. On Thanksgiving we invited the older daughter and our only grandson to join us for dinner as her husband had to work. When she arrived at the house she was followed in by my younger daughter and her husband. WE had a terrific day. I thanked God for answering the prayer I prayed to have these two gals reconcile and start spending time together. I thought God was silent and at time really questioned if I was praying to someone who didn’t exist. I know realize that God works things out in his own time. I am so thankful for having the entire family together for this holiday. I always thank God for my grandson. He was born very tiny and spent a couple of weeks in the NICU. But now he is a very smart and very healthy six year old that keeps his grandma and papa on their toes. God has truly blessed me with this little boy.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 27, 2021 at 3:21 pm

      Wow I love this post so much. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Kendra Stasis on November 28, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    I am so grateful this season for my mother. A 50 year old plus troubled sibling AGAIN came to roost on her doorstep . We 5 siblings sprang into action discussing suggestions/boundaries to limit her stay there. Our 96 yr old mother said she would take care of this situation once and for all!

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