For a while now I’ve been thinking about the need to be thankful, and I know I’m not the only one! Not only is it biblical:
Col 4 v 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
2 Cor 4 v 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Phil 4 v 6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It’s also very healthy! I’ve heard many medical people comment that those who are ‘positive-thinkers’: those whose mindset is one of looking for the positive in everything, therefore those who find the time to be thankful for the good in amongst life’s rubbish, these are the ones who recover quicker from surgery, who overcome major physical hurdles and who have a strength that could otherwise go untapped.
This is not to say we should deny the reality of life. It is important to be realistic and honest with those around us as well as ourselves. I came across a blog the other day (joyinthisjourney.com) in which Joy encourages her readers to be real. Not a cleaned up version of our own selves, not pretending to be someone we are not, equally though not being moany or petulant, not being self-indulgent or navel gazing, simply being real. She calls it Life: Unmasked and this struck a chord with me. So here is my ‘Life: Unmasked’.
I was recently on camp with our church and some good friends from another. The first night we spent there was mostly interrupted sleep as our 2 year old tried to make sense of sleeping in a travel cot borrowed from Grandma in a strange room, with all the other members of his family and we tried to make sure his crying didn’t wake everyone else up!
I was up at 6.30am, feeling very grumpy and bleary eyed. Now, it is my experience that getting a group of Mums together can result in a level of competition as we try to ensure that other Mums realise just how difficult it is to be us: with our child/ren who don’t sleep/eat/behave well etc (part of me hopes this is just me – but a much larger part of me needs you to recognise this!). I felt competitive that morning! And as it happened I was due to be leading the All-age time in that morning’s meeting. The theme? Being Thankful!
As I was getting ready to face the day (OK I was in the shower, there did you need that image?!) I began to realise that being grumpy about my lack of sleep and my youngest child’s desperate need for Grandma at 3.30am was not going to get me anywhere other than MORE grumpy and making it harder for everyone else to be around me. Did I want to be that person? No, most definitely not. I want to be a happy person, who wants to take the world on and do it with a smile and an encouraging word. God wants me to be a thankful person, not out of some over-inflated ego that makes ridiculous demands on those around him, rather because actually that’s what we were created to be. Being thankful makes me happy and encourages all manner of people around to be happy.
A good friend of mine came up with a new Twitter idea back in the summer. He encouraged those of us who ‘follow’ him to think of and tweet 3 good things from the day which we would give thanks for.
That morning on church camp I borrowed this idea and got everyone in the room to think of 3 good things from the day so far or the previous one. Then take a paper chain strip, write them done and then join them together to create chain of thankfulness.
And I’ve committed to doing it each day. So if you tweet, follow me on Twitter (scroll to the bottom of this page for the button) and look out for #3goodthings. If you are friends with me on Facebook then look out for the statuses and join in! Why not give it a try yourself? What would be your 3 good things from today?