Test Yourself

November 14, 2018

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

My highly organized friends sent their Thanksgiving invitations out a month ago. They’ve planned the menu, bought the food, cleaned the house, set the table, and will be ready to relax and give thanks to God next Thursday. 

 

As for me, I’m planning on keeping up my Thanksgiving tradition: I’ll race around town the day before with an impossibly long shopping list. The next day, I’ll wake up before dawn to clean the house, then spend the rest of the morning cooking and shouting orders at my family to hurry up and help out. When the dinner’s finally on the table, my heart won’t be in the mood to give thanks.

 

So often our hearts don’t feel like giving thanks, do they?

 

How can we possibly feel like giving thanks when…the medical report comes back worse than we expected, or the kids are fighting over the same toy again, or the house looks like a bomb went off even though we just cleaned it yesterday, or the bills add up to more than we have in our bank account, or our spouse keeps complaining about the ugly habit we can’t seem to break?

 

Many years ago, while stuck in a rut and wrestling with God, I accidentally developed the habit of inviting Him into my day at 3:00pm and giving Him thanks. (I say accidentally, because it started with a running watch alarm that I couldn’t re-set. You can read more about that here).

 

This daily interruption helped me see that my negative mindset was truly hurtful to both me and my children. So I decided to take charge of my afternoon thoughts and turn them to gratitude. At first it was a chore, but soon it became great joy. 

 

This habit of giving God thanks every day no longer impacts just my afternoons, it has changed my world. Yes, simple moments have the power to change everything. How? 

 

Intentional moments of gratitude awaken our faith to experience God’s presence around us, His power within us, and His great plans for us. 

 

Want to see how? Try this:

 

  • Think of a challenging situation or negative emotion that you are struggling with (anger, bitterness, fear, envy, anxiety…). Focus on it for a bit.

  • Now, stop and give God thanks for 5 blessings in your life. List them out loud or in your head. Write them down if you can.

  • How do you feel now? As you were counting those blessings, you were focusing your mind on the positive in your life and forgetting the negative. 

It’s virtually impossible to be thankful and angry at the same time. If you don’t feel much different, keep practicing. You’ll be amazed how intentional moments of thanking God eventually resets your mind on God’s great design for you.

 

Each day is an opportunity to take charge of your thinking, to live gratefully. Today, will you give thanks to God in all circumstances and live out His will for your life? 

 

 

The Power of Giving God Thanks Will Ignite Your Faith and Change Your World

 

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