***This is an edited version of a blog I first shared here on Patheos in November 2017.***
November is here, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I’m left thinking about how blessed I am…and how little gratitude I show. As we approach this Thanksgiving, I am thinking about how I can decrease my desire for what I don’t have and generate more gratitude for what I do have. And while your desires may be different than mine, perhaps you can relate…and maybe these three tips will help you too.
1) Count your blessings. Consider your shelter (regardless of the size of your home), your clothing (regardless of the brands), and your transportation (regardless of the mode). Consider your health and healthcare. Consider your achievements (and don’t let the world define them for you), Consider your education (no one can take it away…and this doesn’t only refer to degrees,) and employment if you’re working (or retirement, opportunity to stay home with children full time, etc.) Consider your freedom and safety. Consider your community. Consider your family and friends. Consider your church and faith!
2) Help others. While we should not play the comparison game in reverse by helping those less fortunate so that we feel better about ourselves, one way to get beyond our own lives is to help other people. I have been amazed at times I have spoken with people, while “helping” them, who may have less “stuff” or “accomplishments” than I do but seem so much more grateful. Really, I wasn’t helping them…they were helping me! They helped me realize what true gratitude looks like. Spend some time volunteering. There is always a need, and I guarantee you will be blessed in return. God can fill those empty spaces in our hearts when we serve others in His name!
3) Pray for a thankful heart. Being thankful is a choice…a state of the heart and mind. I can make the decision to be grateful for all things and in all things rather than constantly wonder “what’s next?” or “when’s it going to happen?” Spending time in prayer calms and comforts my heart when it’s feeling blue with desire. Praying generates gratitude for my many blessings!
Instead of thinking about what I haven’t done, instead of spending energy on being discouraged over what I don’t have, and instead of comparing myself to others, I can count my blessings, help others, and pray for a thankful heart. I can, should, and vow to thank God for my blessings more! I hope you’ll join me.