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Ever since I understood the meaning of Thanksgiving, it has become one of my favorite holidays. There is something special about spending time with family and remembering to be thankful for everything that the Lord has given us. One problem, I don't believe that we should keep our Thankfulness to just one day of the year.
Here in America, we tend to let Thanksgiving slip as Christmas is on the horizon. Tons of people run out on Thanksgiving evening and start hunting for the Black Friday deals. Tons of people head back to work on Monday and start complaining about their jobs or their commutes.
Related: Envy vs. Gratitude
Too often we can let the little things happening in our lives dictate our daily happiness. From a bad day at work, to a stubborn child to a bad commute home to a friend getting a new truck, there are lots of things in our lives that push us towards unhappiness. However, you can counter these 'bad' events with gratitude and thankfulness. Thus, I challenge you in the month of December:
KEEP THE THANKSGIVING SPIRIT ALIVE AND FIND ONE THING TO BE THANKFUL FOR EACH DAY OF THE MONTH.
Find a time everyday, whether you pray or not, to thank God for something that he has given that has made your life better. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are and let our lives slip into negativity.
What does it look like?
It doesn't have to be anything special. You can go for a walk everyday and find something new that you can be thankful for. It could be at dinner with your family and everybody needs to find one thing they are Thankful for on that day (this could lead to a good family discussion). You can do it in the privacy of your prayers.
You can keep a Thankfulness journal to document all the ways that we are lucky. A journal could allow you to look back and reflect on all the good things in your life. For example, here is my Thankfulness journal for the month of November, so far:
- November 1: Thankful for a financial plan that allows our net worth to grow each month.
- November 2: Thankful for the arrival of fall weather in Texas (it finally feels like fall)!
- November 3: Thankful for my dog, who brings me joy everyday!
- November 4: Thankful for a Husker victory!
- November 5: Thankful for a roof over my head and food on the table.
- November 6: Thankful for technologies that make our lives easier.
- November 7: Thankful for my job, despite the difficult days...I have a job that pays the bills.
- November 8: Thankful for the ability to read and gain new knowledge.
- November 9: Thankful for my friends and the helpfulness in their hearts.
- November 10: Thankful for my health.
- November 11: Thankful for the ability to watch my favorite football team (despite their loss).
- November 12: Thankful for time to rest in the Lord.
- November 13: Thankful for one of my sister's on her birthday.
- November 14: Thankful for an able body (I had to crawl under my car and reattach the exhaust).
- November 15: Thankful for another one of my sister's on her birthday
- November 16: Thankful for my father on his birthday.
- November 17: Thankful for a whole week off to spend with my daughter and family.
- November 18: Thankful that my Mom landed safely in Houston for her visit.
- November 19: Thankful for my daughter on her 1st Birthday.
- November 20: Thankful for a safe delivery of my nephew.
- November 21: Thankful for a loving wife (she took a whole day off to care for me after surgery).
- November 22: Thankful for an ample income that allowed us to not have to worry about paying for the surgery.
- November 23: Thankful for the time off to be able to celebrate with my family (including my family visitors from Nebraska).
- November 24: Thankful for #OptOutside. We enjoyed a great hike as a family.
- November 25: Thankful for my mother (she made my daughters birthday cake and it looked amazing).
- November 26: Thankful for the 5 days off of work that my wife and I had together.
Related: Living a Life of Contentment
How does constant Thankfulness and Gratitude improve my life?
Being thankful and grateful give you a different outlook on the events in your life. From financial problems to family problems, thankfulness can give your mind a total shift. Instead of a complaint about the situation, you can be thankful for where you are on the current journey of your life.
My wife and I are working on paying down our house mortgage. Of course, we want it to go faster and sometimes the slow decrease of the debt id discouraging. However, we can just look back and see where we came. We have paid down nearly $50,000 in principal in just over two years.
Four and a half years ago we had $25,000 of debt and a net worth that was barely positive. We have done some amazing things with our money in the past four and a half years. Therefore, I could complain about the fact that our mortgage is not decreasing as much as I would like or I could look at how far we have come with our finances and be thankful for God's provision.
Let's assume that you have a friend that shows up to visit and they have a brand new car. You could get discouraged, because you want a brand new car. You could start planning your trip to the car dealership, because your car is no longer good enough.
On the other hand, you could find ways to be thankful for your older car. In our life, we would be thankful that our current car is paid for in full. We could think of the car buying process and imagine a slimy car dealership and a massive loan with a massive car payment. We could be thankful that we don't have to go through that grueling process of purchasing a car.
Sometimes we can take the things in our lives for granted. From a simple complaint about the food on our table to complaint about our homes being too small. There are lot's of little things to complain about.
Instead of complaining, think about all the ways that you are lucky. Instead of complaining about the size of our home, imagine how lucky you are to be living your house! Some people don't even have a roof over their heads. The same can be said about the food on our tables. There are people that have a hard time finding food to put on their plates, but we are lucky enough to have lot's of food at our disposal.
Make The Shift Permanent
Once you make the shift, you will become happier in your life, because you are more content with your season of life. The ups and downs of life won't get to you as much. You have changed your heart and realize that you are lucky everyday for the things in your life.
Is this difficult for anybody? Are there any other great examples of being thankful for what you have? Answer in the comments section below.