I am not a naturally thankful person. I tend to be pragmatic and works-oriented, and I pride myself on looking forward, often sacrificing living in the moment to plan for and work on the future.
And, at first, writing about “giving thanks” at Thanksgiving seemed overdone, even unimaginative.
But the feeling–the blessing, the wonder, the miracle–of thankfulness kept coming back. Because, now, I am thankful, sometimes deeply and passionately thankful, for many things large and small.
How in the world did that happen with someone as self-centered as me?
How to Feel Thankful by Caring About Others
Being financially in the upper small percentage of the population (as are most Americans) should be cause for thankfulness. But, for a long time, I selfishly took it for granted, until I started to think more about the world and the people around me. Now, I am thankful for:
- A home – The homeless have become people to me, not faceless nuisances. When it gets cold as winter comes, I can only imagine the pain and discomfort sleeping on the street must bring.
- A car that works – Car repairs used to be a pain. Now, I think of the father or mother working two jobs to barely support their family. To them, a car breaking down is tragedy.
- Thankfulness – I am thankful for having found such gratitude, but when I consider the parents who wake up unsure of where the day’s food will come from, it hurts. I believe, however, that there is some pain we are supposed to feel, so I am thankful for that too.
How to Feel Thankful by Losing Something
People say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. It’s true, and now I am deeply thankful for:
- Security – Being able to pay bills without anxiety and the shame of dodging collection calls.
- Peace – Because I have had many times when worry and fear were constant companions.
- Sobriety – Losing self-control and intentionally doing something I knew would cause me pain later was a descent into insanity, but it gave me a profound appreciation for many things.
How to Feel Thankful by Finding Something
Gratitude is a gift from God offered to me out of his grace and love. After all the things I have done, and thought, it is almost overwhelming to consider my reasons to be thankful:
- The past – Having my sins forgiven.
- The present – The love and purpose God brings each day.
- The future – The promise of a joyful eternal life.
After that, nothing more need be said but a heartfelt, “Thank you, God.” Thank you for helping someone like me learn how to feel thankful.
Question: Do you feel you are as thankful as you should be?
Action: Write down as many things as you can that you are thankful for.