Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful time getting together with family and friends. May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy and gratitude. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. And every so often, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving and this year is that year. It so nice to have a national holiday in my honor – a turkey on Turkey Day!
But as we know, the act of thanksgiving has to be a bigger part of our lives than on one Thursday in November every year. One of the great secrets of a great spiritual life is one that thrives on gratitude.
I have come to discover and practice the power of gratitude in the last year or so. The idea of gratitude has moved from an ideal I aspire toward to a regular practice and experience. I am able, on a daily basis, to practice gratitude and it has been life-changing. I designated an outdoor chair in my back yard that I call my “gratitude chair.” As often as possible, I go to that chair as the sun sets to just be grateful. It is an amazing experience. I’m going to be sharing some of what I’ve learned this Sunday in our services.
The reason why we struggle to live in gratitude (that is different from having an occasional moment of gratitude) is an issue of focus. We tend to focus on what we lack or need. Most of us live with a deficit mentality. That scarcity mentality believes that there is never enough. Enough of what? You fill in the blank! That focus leads us to believe that we don’t have enough money, love, appreciation, respect, recognition, time, energy, health, friends, sleep….
And that scarcity mentality and focus reveals not only a false belief, but a misplaced faith. When our focus is on what we lack, that will rob us of joy. To be painfully honest, our belief or faith that having what we lack will bring us joy is so wrong and misguided. Time, respect, money or whatever will not really bring us lasting joy. The only source of real and lasting joy is God. And one of the great spiritual truths is that God is more than enough. He has given us all that we need.
Here’s what I’m grateful for…God loves me. I am a full and legitimate child of the Father of Heaven. He has forgiven me and cherishes me. He gives me grace after grace for all the times I fail and fall short. He watches over me and is forever for me and with me. He will never forsake me. He wants only the best for me. He guides me. He gives me life now and forever. He is MORE than enough! I have MORE than enough. I have so much to be grateful for. And so do you, no matter how challenging or difficult things are now or will be in the future.
Somehow, we need to get serious about learning to practice gratitude. It is a practice…a daily practice. I am choosing to focus on what I have to be thankful for and not dwell on what I lack. Yes, the list of the things I lack or need is long, too. If I choose to focus on that list, it will rob me of joy. But as I focus on what I have in Jesus, my heart is full and I discover that what I do have is more than enough. Thank you, God!