Friday, November 23, 2012

A Thankful Heart Is A Happier Heart

This is a repost of an entry from two years ago. I'm thankful that revisiting this post encouraged me, since I've been feeling pretty blue lately. I think it would be a good idea to keep a Gratitude Journal
once again. Maybe if I focus on counting my blessings again, I'll be able to kick this funk to the curb. I hope it will encourage you to give thanks to our Creator as well.

As the Thanksgiving season approached this year, I took on the daily challenge of posting something I was thankful for. Facebook became my daily platform to share my thankful thought for the day. As I contemplated what I would include that day, I realized how much this exercise was turning my thoughts to all the blessings I enjoy. I love the idea of keeping an inventory of the many blessings that come my way. As I contemplated the celebration of Thanksgiving I am sure that many of us are indeed thankful for all we have, but I wonder if we are all mindful of where our abundant blessings really come from.

The dictionary defines thanksgiving as an expression of gratitude, especially to God. By participating in the simple act of being thankful, my spirits were often lifted as I deliberately changed my focus, in spite of the way I might be feeling. I wonder, if maybe that is one of the reasons we are often encouraged to give thanks in so many scriptures in the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18  admonishes  us to: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus".

I have learned that it is possible to be joyful in spite of heartache, but it sometimes requires a conscious effort to search for, or at least take notice of joy-filled moments, and there are many to be found when we are looking for them. As the verse goes on, I don't think for a moment, that God expects us to be thankful FOR all our circumstances and the difficulties we face, but rather we are commanded to give thanks IN all circumstances. That is very different.

For me, that means that even when I'm struggling emotionally, with the Lord's help, I can remember and recognize that He is on this journey with me. Through tears, I may pray, "Lord, I'm hurting right now and sometimes I don't understand, but I thank You for what You are doing in my life and I trust You and know You have my best interest at heart as well as the best interest of those I love. Thank You for the good You will bring from this situation and for drawing me closer to You as You empower me to take baby steps towards my future."

Having a thankful heart comes easy for me because I have been so very blessed and have seen the hand of God in so many ways throughout my life, but never so obviously as during the past, almost, two years, since this chapter began. He continues to go before me, in this totally foreign territory of widowhood. So often, the Lord shows me the next step by bringing people into my life to help with the many decisions that need to be made. This is a tremendous comfort to me!

I have decided that I would like to continue my daily thankfulness inventory. Perhaps I will share my  Gratitude Journal from time to time. I encourage everyone to try keeping a record of thanksgiving and rereading it whenever we need an emotional lift or attitude adjustment.

As William Shakespeare said so eloquently: "Let never day nor night unhallowed pass / But still remember what the Lord hath done." May we all take a few moments to thank God for the multitude of ways He blesses each of us everyday! We are all richer than we know! God bless you and your loved ones as you celebrate this holiday season! You are a tremendous blessing in my life

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