“Being joyful isn’t what makes you grateful. Being grateful is what makes you joyful.” – Ann Voskamp
One Thanksgiving morning a few years ago, I got up early, made a big mug of coffee, and sat down with pen in hand to make a list – a list of fifty things for which I was thankful.
The first ten were easy, the kind of standard stuff that all of us tend to give thanks for regularly – family, home, food, friends, health and so on. But as I continued, there were longer pauses between pen and paper. By the time I got to fifty, I was thinking in whole new gratefulness territory. This was taking longer than I thought it would. I was on my second cup of coffee by then.
It may seem trite to do an exercise like this, but it wasn’t. I discovered it was more than a list. Doing this changed me for that day and, maybe, beyond. Of course, there was a new realization of all that I had to be thankful for. But there also was a new understanding of the graciousness of God in my life by providing for things I didn’t even know I needed. And, then a sense of joy in cherishing all that I had been given. And a new light-heartedness that began to affect the way I treated others. That’s a lot of transformation just for making a list!
You might want to try making your own list this Thanksgiving weekend. You might be surprised at what happens in your heart when you do!
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:3-4