With all the wondrous gifts God has bestowed upon us, you would think that we wouldn't have to "practice" thankfulness. But, we are sinful, fallen creatures and with that comes a natural bent toward selfishness. Selfishness can breed a critical spirit.
How often do we see it happen that nine out of ten things are going right, but we will focus on the one thing going wrong? Conversely, nine things could be going wrong; one very good thing going right, and we forget to say thank you to God?
"Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits..." (Psalm 103: 2-4).
A friend of mine once told me to "practice with the small stuff." How often do we overlook the small blessings, let alone the big blessings? After my knee surgery, I pulled into the Target parking lot. Thinking I'd have to park out in the back forty, I groaned. Just then a spot right in front opened up. "Thank you God," I praised Him. Small stuff, but definitely worthy of praise!
I have my own little form of sign language I created as a way to thank God (silly I know), but I touch my fist to my heart; I then kiss my fist (symbolizing my heart); then I open up my hand pointing one finger up to God as a way of releasing my kiss and my thankfulness to God above.
Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is the fruit of our lips that confess His name. (Hebrews 13:15).
A friend once drove by when I was walking Zoe (my dog) and she saw me pointing up to the sky. "What were you looking at and pointing to?" she later asked me. "Oh," I said, slightly embarrassed, "that's just my sign language for thanking God for the sunshine."
"From the fullness of His grace, we have received one blessing after another." (John 1:16).
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." (Psalm 107:1).
You know it's hard to be grumpy and thankful at the same time. Thankfulness, other than being what God calls us to, is a mood lifter. Here are some simple ways to practice thankfulness. (Warning, some of these may be best done alone lol!):
* Put praise music on in the kitchen and lift up your hands in praise.
* If you are a dancer, dance your thankfulness to God. (Dance like no one is
watching.) "Let them praise his name with dancing... (Psalm 149:3).
* Even if you can't sing (like me) sing along with Christian radio in your car.
* Write or journal a simple prayer of thanksgiving to God.
* Tell your family what you are thankful for at the end of each day.
* Dedicate a run, walk, game played, drawing created, or instrumental piece
played to the Lord. I will even dedicate my sink of dirty dishes unto
the Lord as I wash them.
* Begin your prayers with an opening of thanksgiving. "...but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to
God." (Philippians 4:6).
* Get creative...
One of my favorite quotes is: "When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine." (E. Stanley Jones)
Will you join me this week in practicing thankfulness and go out and share a little of that sunshine? Your heart, and God, will be glad you did!