I am, by nature, a thankful person. I have been taught and taken to heart the scripture to thank God in everything. And there have been many “everything’s” in my life to learn that principle. There has been years of infertility, cancer, missionary challenges….the list goes on, as does each of yours.
I recently was given Ann’s devotional book. Her writing style made me slow down and savor the words, thoughts and moments. This giving thanks rang true in my heart. A bit of a different perspective perhaps, on being thankful.
In the past, whenever something challenging would come into my life, be it small or large, I would as an act of faith, thank God for it. Literally whisper, “thank you, Lord.” This is my life pattern, my routine, my offering of trust. Which I believe pleases God. As I started my gift list I realized that something new was happening in my heart. Although I often offered thanks it was usually for something negative. Thanking God for these new small, unexpected, everyday gifts began to change me. My perspective had shifted, my joy increased and I wondered why.
Then a principle I had learned years before came to mind. As a wife who seeks to support her husband I pray for him. Specifically in areas he wants to see life change happen. I genuinely want be supportive, not manipulate my husband. However, in my prayers I was constantly reminded of his weaknesses. And ever so subtly that focus began to color my thoughts of him, not for the better. Then I realized I needed to refocus my prayer list so that I spent more time thinking about and thanking God for the things my husband does well. And again very subtly my thoughts began to change.
The focus of my prayers made a difference. So too, the focus of my thanks makes a difference. Most of my offering of thanks to God had a bit of a negative shadow to it. But my new gift list was all positive. In time, it changed my perspective. It gave a new life pattern, a routine of thanking God for the small, everyday, positive things.
My first reaction in a negative situation is still to whisper my thanks to God but now those challenges are outweighed by the growing gift list on my counter. To be thankful in the challenges of life is a good thing, a biblical thing, the right thing but to be thankful for the little things is indeed joy.