The holiday season is here and it feels like it is moving at record speed. I went to Costco at the end of October and my 4-year-old laughed saying, “Mom! Why are there Christmas trees? Halloween hasn’t even happened!” Yet here we are, Thanksgiving is tomorrow and Christmas is 28 days away. TWENTY EIGHT DAYS. Excuse me while I go breathe into a paper bag…time to practice thankfulness.
Around this time every year, I always look inwardly to see what I am most thankful for, and to see what areas of my life I could add a dose of gratefulness to. The answer is always the same: I need to renew my mind to practice thankfulness in every area of my life.
Striving Vs. Gratefulness
As humans it is so easy to fall into a trap of grumbling, complaining, comparing, and just wishing things were different. Our brain gets used to thinking this way. Our thoughts come from a negative place, where we have convinced ourselves that we can’t truly be happy and thankful until we arrive somewhere. And you know where that leaves us? In a state of constant striving. We strive for something better, we strive for more stuff, we strive for a better appearance, more money….like hamsters on a wheel we keep spinnging…no where.
The truth is we will never be thankful when we “arrive” unless we practice thankfulness right where we are. God calls us to be thankful no matter what our circumstances: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Changing Your Thinking: Negative To Thankful
He sent His son to die for us so that we can live forever with Him in eternity. Start there. The creator of the entire universe sent His only son to die for you so that you could live forever. I hope a wave of gratitude just washed over you! “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
For me, it is an everyday practice of asking the Lord to renew my mind. As a mom of three young boys, it is so easy to fall into the grumbling trap. “Look at this mess! Nobody helps me clean, I have to do everything myself, nobody listens to me, nobody appreciates me! I just want some ALONE TIME!”
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Sadly, this is how my human brain thinks much of the time and it is now a habit when I am stressed. But, when I ask the Lord to stop me, to take those thoughts captive and help me to reframe my complaining to thankfulness, it always works. And I can retrain those same thoughts to be thoughts of gratefulness instead of negativity…
Practice Thankfulness: Make The Shift
“This mess shows me that I have been gifted 3 beautiful boys to love and care for. And they are enjoying themselves! My home might be messy, but how blessed I am to have one! A roof over my head! I often feel like I am unappreciated, but God sees everything. He knows how hard I am working to please Him and raise a family that follows Him and serves Him.” See? It seems so easy, but it is just as easy to forget. But if you start small, eventually it becomes your norm. I challenge you to ask God to do the same for you, and watch your attitude change!