You know how to express thanksgiving: now choose ThanksLIVING. It is gratitude in action. ThanksLIVING often goes against the grain of our culture but aligns perfectly with God’s design for our lives.
Research shows that people who practice grateful thinking reap emotional, physical and interpersonal benefits. People who regularly keep a gratitude journal report fewer illness symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole and are more optimistic about the future. Gratitude is a choice. Let’s take our sense of gratitude up a notch and help our family members integrate ThanksLIVING into their daily lives.
When you are grateful, fear disappears and the sense of abundance appears.
We all know those people who engage ThanksLIVING. Maybe you are one of them. ThanksLIVING is when we stop complaining about all the troubles we have and are thankful for the troubles we don’t have!! ThanksLIVING is serving, showing compassion and experiencing appreciation for the ordinary everyday things of life. ThanksLIVING is receiving the goodness of the moment – being able to drink in beautiful music in the clutch of pain; hearing a child’s laughter although our eyesight might be failing; cherishing the family we DO have in the ache of wanting to be married; or savoring the sunset after a day filled with turmoil.
We can also say that ThanksLIVING involves:
- Living your life triumphantly
- Being an inspiration to others
- Living each day to the fullest
- Using your talents to serve God and others
- Facing the challenges of life as opportunity to put our faith into action
- Enjoying what you have and sharing it with others
It’s not happy people who are thankful; it’s thankful people who are happy.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough.
Here are two ideas to help cultivate ThanksLIVING that you may not have thought of:
- Express Gratefulness for the hard stuff
Life can be messy. You make mistakes. You get disappointed and frustrated. Loved ones get ill. You struggle. Instead of regretting your mistakes or remaining caught up in the ways you were wronged, take a moment to think about what the challenges have taught you. What is God teaching you in the situation? What can you be grateful for? What lessons have you learned? What do you now know about yourself? How have the hardships served you?
When we feel uncomfortable we think there is something “wrong,” or we try to avoid facing what we need to or we pray fervently for God to remove the situation from us. Next time you are in the middle of a struggle try these actions:
- Surrender it to God. Thank Him for caring about you and providing for you in the midst of the challenge.
- Thank Him for teaching you and ask Him what you need to learn in this situation.
- Look around you. Acknowledge the pain you are feeling and identify something that brings you joy.
Most of the time we experience both joys and challenges. When you choose ThanksLIVING you acknowledge the ache and thank God for using it to His good; AND you express gratefulness for the joys you are experiencing.
- Deposit grateful thoughts into your life bank account.
I heard a story of a ThanksLIVING 90 year-old woman whose normal routine was to get up each morning, fix her hair, get dressed and be ready for the day. After her husband of 70 years passed away, she had to make the tough move to a nursing home. She was legally blind yet she waited patiently alone in the lobby of the nursing home. The Client Specialist finally came and announced that her room was ready. The older woman smiled, stood and reached for her walker. She listened intently as the other woman described her room: yellow gingham curtains, soft yellow bedspread, and a comfy chair.
The Client Specialist was surprised when the older lady expressed childlike joy about her new tiny room that would be her home. The younger woman kind of chuckled and said, “Oh Miss Lila. You must be teasing me. You haven’t seen your room yet. It’s just around this corner.”
But an overwhelming look of peace came over the older woman. She said, “Oh my Dear. I learned a long time ago to set my heart on gratefulness. If I focus on what’s not quite right, or how I wish things could be or how hard something is, it just doesn’t do me a bit of good. So I’ve already decided that I’m going to love the room, the people here and be ready for the surprises that lie ahead. Actually, I make that choice everyday. When I wake up, I thank God for the day ahead. Throughout the day I look for things to be grateful for. Yes, I have aches and pains but I decide to be thankful for what doesn’t hurt – for what works. I have deposited so many happy memories into my life bank account. Each day I choose to create and deposit more happy memories.”
Great advice for all of us. Savor the moments of each day. Deposit them into your memory bank account. Choose to make them happy. Choose gratefulness.
ThanksLIVING is a choice. Choose gratefulness everyday – it replaces fear with a sense of abundance. You will always have hard stuff as well as delightful joys gong on at the same time. Shout out your gratefulness – decide ahead of time to choose ThanksLIVING!
We would love for you to join our iBloom 100 Days of Gratitude Facebook Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/iBloom100Days/ We are leading women through 100 gratitude choosing activities! iBloom has a gratitude journal you can buy or you can just use whatever your have. The point is to come have fun and get you and your family, tuned into Thanks Living!