We are closing in on Thanksgiving. Cue the blogs, shows, and articles encouraging us to be thankful and grateful.
It’s not that there is anything wrong with being thankful or encouraging others to do the same…but why wait until now?
I get it, the holiday! But if you want something different, a better life, holidays can’t drive who you are.
Being thankful or grateful is either a part of your lifestyle or it isn’t. A season on the calendar doesn’t really change that for you.
I am not trying to be downer rather an encourager. What if you were thankful and grateful as your baseline. You just oozed thankfulness. Grateful simply spilled out of your mouth without any prompting.
Now we are on to something!
Isn’t that who you want to be anyway? I don’t know too many people who aspire to being more critical and ungrateful.
At the same time, there is not much going on around most of us consistently helping us develop into a more thankful and grateful person.
I am going to give you some very practical tips on how to develop this traits and then share a secret…a secret lifestyle. The tips are good, the lifestyle is gold.
If you adopt this lifestyle, you will find grateful spilling out and thankfulness oozing (sounds a little gross huh?). You get my point though.
First, for some tips to get started. Pick one or try them all. They can all help develop you.
1. Morning Moments - Start the day reflecting on at least three things you're grateful for and share it with Jesus.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. - Psalm 118:24
2. Keep Track of the Right Things – Focus on your blessing not your problems. When faced with challenges, consciously shift your focus to the things that are going well. Count your blessings instead of dwelling on problems.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. - Romans 8:28
3. Express It Now - Don't wait to express your gratitude to others and to God. It could be a note, a text, or a simple face-to-face acknowledgment. Tell God what you appreciate about Him.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. - 1 Chronicles 16:34
4. Do Something Someone Else Can Be Grateful For - Engage in acts of kindness daily. Helping others makes a difference in their lives and fills you with gratitude for the ability to make a difference.
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. - Hebrews 13:16
5. Circulate Don’t Isolate - Surrounding yourself with positive, thankful people reinforces your own sense of gratitude. Hint this happens every Sunday at Mt Ridge at 9:15 or 10:45AM. Being around other thankful grateful people as they express their thanks and gratitude in worship is like gas on a fire.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
This takes time. Be patient with yourself and celebrate the progress, don’t obsess about perfection. By incorporating these practices you'll find you naturally becoming more appreciative.
Now, lets talk lifestyle. There was no one more thankful or grateful than Jesus. The more your life looks like His, the more like Him you will be.
I recently read Tyler Stanton’s book Praying Like Monks and Living Like Fools. If you are a reader this is well worth your time.
He did an outstanding job of highlighting Jesus’ lifestyle and how it can incorporated into our own. No, you don’t need to quit your job, wear robes and sandals, and walk everywhere.
A couple of quick notes about Jesus’ approach to life seen through his prayers:
Humility: Jesus started with humility. It wasn’t about Him. His prayer life exemplified submission and humility. He willingly put Himself in an unguarded, exposed position, acknowledging that prayer meant complete surrender not control.
Trust in God: Jesus' prayers reflected a deep trust in God. Despite challenges and uncertainties, He embraced a relationship of trust, rejecting the notion of self-sufficiency. He had not hesitation in living as if everything was in His Father’s control.
Because of his humility and trust it created something unexpected.
Defiant Adoration: Jesus' prayers were marked by defiant adoration, praising God even in moments of doubt, depression, anxiety, and failure. This profound adoration showed His unwavering faith regardless of circumstances. He was thankful and grateful for what God had done and confident about what God would do. God defined His life, not His circumstances.
Okay, are you ready for the breakthrough lifestyle change?
I warn you have been doing this for a month or so and it has changed my attitude, my words, and it is beginning to change the way I think. It isn’t time consuming but it is a different lifestyle.
Pray three times a day! Shocker I know. Three things about Jesus and prayer? That’s life changing? It is if you bundle them (couldn’t resist haha)
If you eat three times a day that can be an easy reminder, or find something else to trigger the response. Here is what I do.
In the morning, I tell God one thing I appreciate about Him (usually this comes from what I just read in the Bible) and one thing I am thankful for from yesterday.
In the afternoon, I thank God for at least one person in my life. If you really want this to become powerful include people who are difficult! When you can pray authentically for something you appreciate about someone who is making your life hard you know you are changing.
When I lay down in the evening, I review the day with God and thank him for everything good I can remember, big or small.
I know you may be thinking, that’s it? With all the build up this is all you have? Well, Yeah.
If you went to sleep thanking God for everything good you experience and then work up and told God what you appreciate about Him and thank Him again for the biggest blessing yesterday and then paused in the middle of the day to tell God thank you for the people I care about and even thank you for the people who don’t seem to care about me right now….do you see?
This will change you, into the person you want to be. The grateful you, the thankful you. Not the critical or ungrateful person we all want to avoid.
It is bigger than any holiday. It is a different way to live.
Make me a deal. Try it for a week and see if it has an impact.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If it doesn’t work, I will personally refund all the money you spent on our gratitude and thankfulness program!!
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