Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 1 - Give Thanks in ALL Things

30 Days of Thanks

Today begins my "30 Days of Thanks" challenge. Here's an excerpt from a devotion that I put together for a women's church group meeting last Tuesday that explains the background for the challenge as well as the challenge itself.

Oct. 26, 2010 - A Single Act of Thanksgiving to an Attitude of Gratitude

We’ve had quite the flurry of activity in our close-knit little neighborhood this last week and a half – everything from major brain surgery and a miraculous recovery to the birth of a beautiful new baby. During major events like these, it’s not very difficult to remember to give thanks for all that our amazing God can do and does. But the reality is – whether good or bad – normal life for most of us is not characterized by such mega events, at least not on a daily basis.

“Normal life” – for me anyway – is cleaning finger paintings done with toothpaste on the bathroom cabinets, making sure homework is done, sweeping up mud tracked in on stinky cleats off the floor, cooking, grocery shopping, paying the bills, removing shoes from the front-porch roof, etc. So where does thankfulness fit into normal life? I think all too often it gets shoved in a corner (I know I’m guilty of this) and then life rolls along with its little bumps and twists and it’s not until something big happens that we remember to purposely thank God for all that He is and does.

So my question that I’m putting out there to all of you is “How do we transform those moments of deliberate thankfulness into lives characterized by ‘an attitude of gratitude’?

Even before all the recent activities, I had been thinking about thankfulness for several weeks. It seemed to be a common theme in devotions I had read, Scriptures that I ran across, blogs that I had been reading and then just last week the Bible study that I am doing.

In her book Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl, Lysa TerKeurst says that “thanksgiving is the secret to attitude adjustment” and “a person whose life is characterized by constant praise and thanksgiving despite their circumstances will shift from just verbalizing their praise and thanksgiving to living it out loud through their courageous stance for Christ.”

I know we still have a month to go before the holiday that focuses on giving thanks. But how often do we get overwhelmed by all that there is to do surrounding Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas? That leads to stress, which leads to grumbling and short fuses which leads to just general yuckiness and sometimes ungratefulness.

But this year I really want to make the effort to approach things differently. So I’ve decided to challenge myself with 30 Days of Thanks. Now I’m an on-again off-again blogger (would prefer to be more on-again but it’s funny how my family prefers clean clothes and food over random blog posts). But I have decided beginning Nov. 1 I am going to blog every day about the things that I am most thankful for – many of these things are not the ‘aha’ moments – they are simply moments woven throughout my daily life.

So I challenge you to also take a few minutes of each day throughout the month to let God know what you’re thankful for and pretty soon your intentional act of thankfulness will be transformed into an attitude of gratitude. Not only will that change us but it will go a long way to changing the lives of others around us – and as God’s disciples, isn’t that what we really want?

I knew stating this challenge to the public (i.e., all the women in my group) would provide some accountability for me. But hey, I have lots to be thankful for so how hard can it be other than the fact that I have to make time to document it each day.

Well, that's at least what I thought until last Thursday, just two days later. My whole world was shaken a bit. I was told by my kids' pediatrician that one of my babies could be facing a very serious health situation. Serious enough to be meeting with a specialist at a nearby children's hospital tomorrow (Tuesday) a.m. - just one week after writing my devotion.

To say that I have run through a gamut of emotions from last Thursday until today would be an understatement. My thoughts have been all over the place. In fact, I contemplated 'postponing' my challenge. But then these verses kept coming to mind.

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thess. 5:16 - 18

So while I admit I'm not thankful for my current circumstance, I can still be thankful despite my circumstance. I look forward to sharing the many things - both big and small - that I'm thankful for during the next 30 days.

1 comment:

  1. I have been praying that you would stick to your self-imposed challenge despite the news you got Thursday. It is no coincidence that God put this 30 days of thankfulness thing on your heart during this time. With you every step!