The past week I have been laid up in bed recovering from surgery. As much as it sucks, it’s given me time to reflect on life and what I am grateful for. Focusing on what I am blessed with rather than what I am suffering from makes my life better now and always. Very timely during this week of Thanksgiving.
To be thankful is being in a positive state of being grateful; an overwhelming feeling of appreciation and thankfulness, and the desire to return kindness to others.Gal Pal
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s essential to think about why the “Thanksgiving” holiday and why we should practice being grateful daily. To be more intentional and mindful about having a grateful heart. I wrote last year about how to keep it real during the holidays. and take care of yourself so you can live with purpose, grace and joy.
As I have grown in my faith, I spend more time in intentional prayer and thanksgiving every day, resulting in less anxiety, depression, more contentment, and sincere happiness. This has changed me to be more grounded and to live with purpose.
I set time aside to focus on the blessings in my life- this has changed my life. Every single day can be a festival if you open your heart and mind with an attitude of gratitude. I know that may sound cliche, but friends, it is the real deal. It’s a choice we can make every day.
What If God Created The Thanksgiving Holiday To Remind Us to be Thankful?
Have you ever thought about how the Bible ties a great deal of meaning to the concept of being thankful? But what if most of that meaning is lost to us today? I always believe there is a reason for everything. Don’t you?
What if God created Thanksgiving to remind us always to be thankful?
The concept of thanks comes up 102 times in the Old Testament. You do not need to be religious to understand the importance of thankfulness, but it helps.
With that said, the last week has been extremely tough for me. I have been recovering from foot surgery and have been in constant pain, bedridden, and housebound. For a very active person, it’s beyond difficult. Still, I wake up in throbbing pain but with a grateful heart. So many things to be thankful for. I swear it helps my distress when I focus on the blessings instead of the struggles.
I could be feeling sorry for myself; at times, I do, but I intentionally focus on what I am grateful for instead. Gratitude affects your vision. It does. It makes you see the difficulties of the present in light of the big picture. That’s natural. It’s a way to focus on the light, not the dark.
When we go through challenging times, the little things in life that we often forget to be thankful for become more evident than ever.
For instance, right now, I would do anything to be able to take a brisk walk outdoors. To step downstairs without having to slide down the stairway on my butt. To drive my car anywhere! It is easy to feel sorry for myself, but I don’t let my mind go there.
The Deeper Meaning Of Thanksgiving
Instead, I’ve been pondering about the importance of celebrating Thanksgiving every day. The deeper meaning behind the federal holiday during harvest season.
Have you ever stopped and thought about why we celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place? You may think about how the pilgrims sat around a bounty of food with indigenous peoples (as their new friends) to celebrate the first Thanksgiving. We may think of pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, turkey, and the traditional Amercia’s meal. But there is more to the story than that.
Think about this….
What if God gave us Thanksgiving Day as a method of highlighting the importance of being thankful? To remind all of us that being grateful is life-changing. A way of life, not just a day of celebration. Hmmm, makes sense to me.
U.S. President Lincoln proclaimed in 1863 :
“A day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”U.S. President Lincoln
Have we lost this thought process through the years? I would say yes.
Listen, if we have an annual national holiday dedicated as a day of thankfulness, then perhaps we need to be more intentional about treating every day like Thanksgiving. What do you think?
Do our Thanksgiving celebrations revolve more around the meal, football games, and Black Friday shopping, or around discussing what we should be thankful for? I’m not saying watching football or shopping is terrible; I’m simply stating that our society has lost the meaning of Thanksgiving a bit.
Living A Life Of Gratefulness Is One Of The Healthiest Things We Can Do
If feeling that warm sensation of gratefulness isn’t enough, consider practicing thankfulness for your health. Many studies on gratitude show there are many emotional and physical health benefits of being consciously thankful. For example, practicing gratitude is related to 23 percent lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and led to a 7 percent reduction in biomarkers of inflammation in patients with congestive heart failure.
Read more about the scientific reasons and strategies to practice being grateful here.
Life is for celebrating, it may take practice to stop during the day and be mindful of your surroundings and the positive aspects of your life- but it’s worth it! It’s easy to be intentional about being thankful for what is going well in your life. When life is rough, it takes a lot more work to pinpoint what you are thankful for but as soon as you able to focus on something positive, your mindset changes for the better.
Read more about how to stay balanced and grounded during the holidays.
5 Ways To Practice Celebrating Thanksgiving Every Day:
1. Practice Mindful Moments
Live in them, make the most of them and learn from them. Do your best to be mindful and experience joy in the present. In doing so, you will be more aware of decisions you’re actively making and won’t lose sight of your purpose.
2. Enjoy Your Journey
Success does not come easily, nor does it come quickly. Someone once told me, “inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” Take one day at a time and enjoy the challenge and wins each day offers. Before you know it, you will reach your goals.
3. Substitute Busy For Balance
We’re all guilty of always saying “I’m so busy.” Instead, opt to find more efficient ways to complete daily tasks and learn to balance your work and personal life in the most effective manner for your lifestyle. Understand what is urgent versus important and how to differentiate between the two. Shoot for being more balanced. Who cares if you don’t get everything done today. Really.
4. Genuinely Appreciate Your Loved Ones
Appreciate and fully accept your family members and friends, no matter what their quirks are.We so often take people for granted, only to miss them as soon as they have left. Many times loved ones go, and we wish we’d told them how much they mean to us.
Show your loved ones you genuinely care for them every day and not just on a few special occasions each year.
You don’t even have to make a grand gesture to show your appreciation. Sometimes all they want is some quality time with you and your full presence.
5. Create Community and Contribute To Others
Ultimately, we are all interconnected, even if we don’t know each other and have nothing in common. Regardless of your relationship, look for ways to contribute to others. In any situation, ask yourself: How can I help? How can I contribute here?
Random acts of kindness are magical, and giving yourself is one of the best joys of life. For example, have a friendly conversation with a stranger or donating your time to volunteer. When you give you get- you feel better.
Connect with people without wanting anything from them. Make at least one friendly phone call each day, with no intention to get some business or anything else—just a warm hello an inch of expectation.
And look for ways of bringing people together all year round, not just during holidays. By creating a sense of togetherness, you will help to generate and instill in others a sense of community and well-being.
Become conscious of the joy you get from all your positive acts. When you give the gift of a smile or a kind word, you create a remarkable ripple effect of euphoria that touches many and helps build bridges between everyone.
Enjoy your holiday friends! I am thankful for you!
Bible Verses We Can All Learn From
Colossians 3:15-17: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (ESV)
Philippians 4:6: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. (NLT)
Psalm 106:1: Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (ESV)
Psalm 100:4: Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. (NIV)
Psalm 116:17: I will offer you the sacrifice of Thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. (ESV)
Psalm 28:7: The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of Thanksgiving. (NLT)
Reading these verses is a great way to start changing your heart and mind when it comes to being thankful during your trials. To get quiet before the Lord to hear what He is whispering to the wounds of your soul.