What’s the best part about the Thanksgiving holiday? The food? Family? I tend to focus too much on the dessert and watching football. I started thinking about how I could embrace the meaning of being a thankful person, and here are my thoughts:
First of all, the word “thanksgiving” is made up of 2 words: “thanks” and “giving.” The word itself teaches us that the way we express thankfulness is by giving. In my experience, the most generous people are the most thankful. When we give, it’s an expression of gratitude. So, if we want to be thankful, we are giving something. You don’t wake up one day and find thanksgiving in your heart. You must develop thankfulness just like every other good habit in life. You don’t wake up in perfect shape one day after stuffing yourself with turkey and pumpkin pie. You need to develop good eating habits and good exercise habits.
Here are four habits to implement in your life to become a thankful person.
1. Give Words of Affirmation
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)
Thankful people are generous with their words. This proverb says that gracious words are sweet to the soul and bring health to the body. Our words are powerful and encouraging words can bring life and hope into someone’s life.
Instead of focusing on all the problems in your spouse, try to be gracious with your words this week. Affirm them as a good mother/father. Affirm their appearance and their character. Let them know you see all the amazing things they do.
Instead of focusing on how your kids are letting you down, focus on what they are doing right. Sharing words of encouragement each day will help you become a thankful person.
2. Give Practical Assistance
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)
Thankful people are generous with their time and talents. It seems so simple, but how often do you lend a hand to someone in need? Selfish people only want to help themselves. When I recognize how much God loves me and has blessed me, it encourages me to have a willing spirit to help others. If I’m only thinking about what I don’t have, it leads me to serve myself selfishly. In everyday situations, we can be thankful to God by serving others.
3. Give Money Generously
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)
God loves a cheerful giver. This verse means that if we begrudgingly give, God is not pleased. When we give our money away, we recognize that we aren’t the center of the universe. When we give money, we are making a sacrifice for the benefit of someone else.
If I’m not thankful for what I have, it will be nearly impossible to give money to help others. But if you want to be thankful, giving money away will be a habit you practice.
4. Give Praise to God
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” (Psalm 7:17)
When we sing praise to God, we can declare how thankful we are for His goodness, grace, and love. The Bible tells us to “make a joyful noise to the Lord” (Ps 100:1). You may not think your voice is perfect, but God is pleased with the thankful noise you make to Him. I often see people not singing during a worship service. There are probably many reasons someone isn’t comfortable singing in a crowd. I want to encourage you to sing out. Give thanks to God with your voice and watch how your heart will begin to change.