As we celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to God. It has been an eventful year at Westbrook. We finished building our first building, moved in, celebrated with a Building dedication and Grand Opening. And we have seen God use this building to touch lives and change people. We know that the building is only a tool to be used to bring life change and
draw people closer to God. And the building has proven to be a highly effective tool in that process. So, through these last seven months I have been filled with gratitude toward God.
But what if it didn’t take a big event like a building to practice gratitude all the time? This sense of gratitude struck me so powerfully recently because it is so unusual. I realized that gratitude is not usually my overriding emotion. Usually, I’m anxious for a certain day to come, or I’m dissatisfied that I haven’t made more progress in my life or my job or with a project. Or I’m too focused on what didn’t happen, or what should have happened or what could have happened. And I miss just being thankful for what God has done in my life.
I have a friend who is in recovery and every time I see him and ask him how he is doing, he always answers, “I’m grateful.” It is his pat answer just like most people’s pat answer is, “fine”. But what if that could be true of all of us? That most of the time our overriding emotion is gratitude? Just think what that would change. It would change how we treat people in our family, at our work and how we treat all the people that serve us in retail outlets. It would change how we treat our servers at restaurants. It would change how we view the future and how we respond to the past. It could change our whole perspective on life.
This Thanksgiving I want to make a commitment to grow in gratitude year around. Gratitude is so counter intuitive that it will take some work. Gratitude and thankfulness take discipline. It takes a conscious effort to focus on the good things I have instead of always pining away for the things I don’t have. It is much easier to focus on what didn’t happen, or what circumstances went against us instead of being thankful to God for what he has given us. Thankfulness takes a consistent intentionality. What are you thankful for? What do you have a deep sense of gratitude to God for? Can you intentional about gratitude after the Thanksgiving holiday?