Thankfulness Is Key To A Better Life

Want a longer life, better relationships and improved health? Be thankful! 

When my kids were little, it was important to instill the character quality of being thankful in them. They were prompted to say thank you to anyone who served them or gifted them. Their prayer time always started with a long and creative list of thank yous. As they grew, they thanked bus drivers for shuttling them, the cafeteria workers for doing the dishes and tow truck drivers for being so prompt. 

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 one day doing without food or electricity or hot water. Sleep on the floor a night or two. 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’s death and resurrection.
  2. Mr. 4-Ever.
  3. The kids.
  4. My moms and dad.
  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. In house refrigerator, washer, dryer, garbage disposal.
  11. The work and ministry I do.
  12. All the safety I enjoy every day.
  13. The bills that are paid.
  14. My family of origin.
  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. Dogs and Cats and pets of all kinds.
  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. I call these lousy tradeoffs. When my kids moved out, I suffered in my empty nest, but then I realized how clean my house stayed – lousy tradeoff. In my grief after my man died, I lost all the weight I’d fought against for a decade – lousy tradeoff. When my mom was hospitalized with cancer, I got to spend lots of time with her – lousy tradeoff. 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 set sand your marshmallows don’t burn. May your turkey get done on time and be juicy and delicious. Let the people at your table encounter Christ through you. Spread thankfulness habitually!

In the comments below tell me what you do or you’re going to do to develop thankfulness.

30 Day Thankfulness Challenge

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God works in mysterious ways

No doubt, God’s ways are far above my understanding, but He is often quite OBVIOUS in His direction. For the past several weeks, nearly every book, magazine article, podcast and Bible study lesson has touched on thankfulness.

Now, I like to think of myself as a thankful person, but apparently, God is raising the barre on my quota. He’s impressed on me to start a thankfulness journal. For one minute a day (I set a timer) I write what I am thankful for.

Initially, it was a piece of cake. It doesn’t take much effort to fill one minute with home, hubby, health, kids, etc., but now on day seven, the flow is slower. You can test me in this. I’d love the company.

Thankfulness rewires your mind. 

As the flow of things to write on my list dwindled from a stream to a trickle, I realize God is using this journal to cause me to deeply reflect on my blessings. 

Honestly, girls, God is wooing me and maybe to you, too, to appreciate what I have and not take it for granted. To chuck the “What have you done for me lately” attitude as I pray for more stuff and overlook what I already have.

Follow the example of Paul

Paul says in Phil 4:6, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.” 

What he practices a lot is thankfulness.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” Col 3:15

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Do You Speak The Language Of Kindness Fluently?

 

There are many languages in the world.
English, Cantonese, and Arabic to name just a few.
Also, there is the language of Love,
the language of Patience,
and the language of Thankfulness. 

This weekend I am thinking of things
I am specifically thankful for.

What’s on your list?

I have the usual stuff …
health,
home,
hubz,
happy children. 

But also electric lights and curling irons,
hot and cold running water on demand,
appliances that ease and expedite my life. 
For moms and dads and cars that start. 
For air conditioning and forced air heat. 

I’m thankful that I live in America.
I can vote,
continue my education,
and go to stores or movies
without much fear of being
blown up,
hijacked or
sold into slavery.

There is another language we must practice.
It’s kindness.

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Focus On What You’ve Got, Rather Than What You’ve Not!

Before I learned to focus on what I’ve got,
rather than what I’ve not,
I used to dread the Monday
following Mother’s Day.

As if the cascade of perfect FB posts on
Mother’s Day weren’t enough to create
a case of the covets,
every conversation on Mother’s Day Monday
was about
being showered
with attention and gifts.

 Mr. 4-Ever is a great husband.

If I could, I would clone him and
give him away as Christmas presents
to women who want
a Godly man with impeccable character.

But the clone would have to come with a disclaimer.
This is a good man.
He is kind, gentle, loving, fun,
hard-working, generous, and patient.
He is creative and calm in all situations.
He is a great kisser.
but …
a Harlequin Romance novel hero … 
He. Is. Not.

Rarely do flowers or chocolates show up
on my desk.
Good behavior gifts and
just because “I love you” texts
do not happen.

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This Week’s Challenge Is To Praise God

Are you up for a challenge?

This week’s challenge is to praise God.
Not just thank him,
but PRAISE him.

There’s a difference
between thanking God
and praising God.

We thank him for
what he does
or provides us.

We praise him for
Who He Is.

The smallest of children
can think of endless things to thank God for –
especially if they are trying to avoid chores or bedtime.

A preschooler will thank God for
mommy and daddy,
grandma and grandpa,
trampolines and triangles,
birds and bugs,
wallpaper and toilet paper,
and every single toy they own.

The list will go on until
whomever is listening to the child calls a halt.

You and I thank God for
our families,
our finances and
our friends.

We thank him for
our health and
our homes.

Our list could go on indefinitely.

Being thankful keeps us focused
on what we have
instead of what we don’t.

It wards off discontentment
and a bad case of the gimme’s.

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The Secret to Being Thankful is Focus

The secret to
being thankful
is focus.

When I learned to drive motorcycles,
I discovered very quickly that
where you look is
where you go!

Through the curves,
around the obstacles
or
into the ditch!

In this season of busyness and frivolity,
it’s easy to lose your focus.

If you’re anything like me,
you start to focus on what everyone else is
doing,
decorating,
devouring,
or delighting in.

Comparisons take up the space
in my mind and heart that
God is supposed to inhabit.

Instead of being thankful for what I have,
I focus on what
SHE has,
or what SHE does,
or what SHE gets
or how SHE looks.

I compare home decorating skills,
culinary prowess,
the number of Christmas cards received,
the extravagance of gifts,
and the size of her dress.

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Thankfulness in Action

Today I am thinking of things
I am specifically thankful for.

What’s on your list?

I have the usual stuff …
health,
home,
hubz,
happy children. 

But also electric lights and curling irons,
hot and cold running water on demand,
appliances that ease and expedite my life. 
For moms and dads and cars that start. 
For air conditioning and forced air heat. 


I’m thankful that I live in America.
I can vote,
continue my education,
and go to stores or movies
without much fear of being
blown up,
hijacked or
sold into slavery.

My life has not been without tragedy.


As a woman who has suffered loss,
I will tell you it’s the kindness of friends and strangers alike
that helped me make it through long seasons of sorrow.

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