As children we’re frequently tested to see what areas we do well in and which areas are in need of improvement. One of the areas that was consistently a bright spot for me was “critical thinking.” This meant little to me at the time, but I came to realize that this meant I could fairly quickly see patterns in things and identify what was “off.” This was great for testing, but wasn’t so good as a way of life. If you’re constantly see what’s wrong, it’s hard to focus on what’s good.
This changed in high school when I got the idea to keep a thankfulness journal. I’m not sure what prompted it, but everyday I would write down at least one thing I was grateful for. I think I started out with the big things – my salvation, my parents, etc. – but as I kept writing, I realized just how many reasons how I had to be grateful. Seemingly mundane things like socks took on new meaning when I realized that I was thankful my feet weren’t getting cold. My awareness and appreciation for the blessings in my life increased as I identified new reasons for gratitude. And the amazing thing was that the more I realized what I was thankful for, the more thankful I became.
It wasn’t until I reflected back on this time that I realized that God had done a work in my heart through this experience. He cultivated an consistent attitude of thanks that surpassed my nature to view things critically. And He demonstrated to me that regardless of what’s going wrong, there’s always reason to be grateful.
May giving thanks not just be an annual experience in November, but may we cultivate a heart of gratitude as we are constantly reminded of all the reasons we have to be grateful.