Truly an art to learn, to apply, to live.
I have not mastered it, but I am trying. I’ve read several books about this mindset – A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and more. I’ve learned a lot over the last two years, and the biggest lesson of all? Thankfulness is a CHOICE.
No one is forcing you to be thankful. Sure, we say “thank you” after “please” and then “you’re welcome”. But saying “thank you” does not make you thankful. Not deep within.
So I dug deeper. Some mornings I woke up and everything inside of me did not WANT to be thankful. No energy made me grumpy. The wash machine breaking annoyed me. My husband staying late at work frustrated me. My daughter hanging onto my leg while I stood at the stove exasperated me. It was a battle, not just a choice to be thankful. However, only one person stood in the way of thankfulness; myself.
Of course we become thankful when we read the news and someone was killed in a car accident, a child dies, a mass shooting occurs over there, not here. We may hold our loved ones tight for a day or two. But that feeling quickly goes away as life goes on, and WHY. Why do we let it? Why do we fall back into the trap of complaint? And why are we surprised when something else tragic happens – maybe God constantly needs to remind us of His blessings He has bestowed. Blessings that are really His in the first place, it’s all His. He has given these blessings to us to take care of while we are on this green Earth, and we, I, sit here and complain. Become annoyed, frustrated, exasperated.
So I’ve started TRYING to live with my eye’s open. Beholding the blessings around me and writing it with pen and paper. Not just the obvious – my husband, God, my daughter, my house, my church family, etc., but the not-so-obvious. The wind in the trees outside and how that little robin continues to stay perched upon the branch despite it. The breath in my lungs and the way my chest rises and falls with each one. Chubby little hands clutching my neck, and cries in the middle of the night that shows life is still dancing in her lungs. Strong arms hugging me after returning home in the evening; sunlight dancing across the kitchen table in the morning hour.
And slowly, the choice of thankfulness is becoming a beautiful habit. It’s becoming ME, although I have a long way to go. And thankfulness brings contentment, and then JOY. Joy in this life God has granted me. Joy in His creation. Joy in His people.
At the end, or really the beginning of the secret of thankfulness, is the One who created this attribute, this mindset. I give thanks to the Creator for sending His Son, that I may experience this gift in the first place. And when I count my blessings, I realize just how many there are. Or I do not ever fully realize, for the list goes on, and on, and on…