I saw the sign as I was leaving my Bible Study. It said something like, “Imagine if you only had today what you thanked God for yesterday”. Needless to say, I was rather convicted. It’s not that I don’t thank God. I thank God before my meal; that counts, right? But the voice in my head was pretty clear, “There is so much more for which you should be thankful. Have you really thanked God, lately?”
If I were honest with myself I would have to admit that I need to do a better job of being thankful. I am very good at thanking God when it is clear only God could have made it possible but I am not so good with the day-to-day stuff that perhaps I take credit for rather than give credit to God. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.”
It seems to me thankfulness is a condition of the heart and that, like most disciplines, it takes practice. Thankfulness, not only helps us grow in relationship to God, it also has all sorts of positive benefits. Studies show thankfulness can actually impact us physically, psychologically and socially.
This Thanksgiving I started a new spiritual discipline, practicing gratitude. Here are some that I am doing:
- Every morning I will write in my journal three things that I am thankful for no matter how big or how small.
- Every day, I am going to look for opportunities to say, “Thank you” and mean it.
- Once a week, I am going to write a thank you note to someone for whom I am grateful.
- Every night, I am going to thank God before I close my eyes for the gift of the day that just ended!
Anyone want to join me?