Learning To Be Thankful

Why is “Hands Held High and Sunsets” the universal symbol of thankfulness? Why didn’t I get this memo?! Curse you Google Image Search for mercilessly toying with my expectations.

One of the things that I pray for is the discernment to see my own flaws. Flaws are a funny thing. They are never obvious, but once they are pointed out you sit amazed at how you let them slip by you every day before that. I’ve realized lately that I am not near as thankful for things that I should be. I recently spent time with someone that I hadn’t seen in a few years, and one of the first things they noticed different about me was that I complained less than I used to. This was a startling revelation. Like every other human being, I tend to think I’m a pretty well-balanced person. I downplay my flaws and live off my strengths. To have this person, someone who is very close to me and who’s opinion I value dearly, say to me that I was someone who complained a lot was something I was never expecting to hear, but when I did, I was so glad that she did.

The beauty of discovering a flaw is that now you know what you need to do different. Awareness leads to action, and action leads to improvement. I am so thankful that I have people that are always willing to challenge me and encourage me to improve myself, even if they have to inform me of something that I’ve overlooked for years. I’ve been trying to live in a state of thankfulness ever since learning about how I used to be. Granted, there are days where I fail miserably, but progress is never linear; there are always ups and downs. When I really sit and think about the things in my life that I have to be thankful for, I am honestly overwhelmed. My “terrible” days are a cakewalk compared to people less fortunate than I, and all too often I fail to realize that. I’ve notice that the more thankful you are, the more you see God’s hand moving pieces all over your life, be it either retrospectively, presently, or watching our futures developing. The less I believe in coincidences, the more I believe that God is looking out for me, and that he loves me enough to fight for me. This gives me so much hope, because it blows my mind to think that the God who breathed the entire universe into existence with just a word loves and cares about my existence. It’s a humbling, yet incredibly joyous realization. And I’m so thankful for that.

My life motto for the moment is this: When in doubt, be thankful. It’s impossible to have a spirit of thankfulness and be miserable. Let God pour his spirit into your life, and be thankful every day for the things he’s blessed you with. What do you have to lose? It’s not like complaining gets you anywhere. Thinking that complaining will improve your life is like pushing a rolling a ball of cowpies down a mountain: It’s only going to go downhill, it stinks, and everyone loses when they come in contact with it. So start being thankful with this thought: At least there isn’t a giant ball of poo rolling towards my house. Because no one likes a smelly situation. Unless it smells like cinnamon rolls. And coffee. See?! Two more things to be thankful for!

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