If you happen to be friends with me on Facebook, then you are probably already aware of my Thankful posts. Which means you can skip this paragraph and move onto the next. For those of you who don’t know, every day from January 1st to December 31st, I posted a status every day, listing at least one thing that I was thankful for.
So, I asked myself: in a year of Thanksgiving, did I learn anything? And if so, what did I learn?
Every day, even on the worst and most painful days (and yes, I’ve had a few really, really hard days this year!), there is always something or someone that I can be thankful for. Now, I did do my best not to repeat things I was thankful for in my statuses (which I also recorded in my journal for most of the year.) Not because I wasn’t thankful for them on more than one day, but I didn’t want ten posts in a row of “I’m thankful for the pretty weather!” or “I’m thankful that I’m alive!” (And yes, I can really see myself doing that, if given half the chance!) I made exception for events – I believe I was thankful for going to church more than once, as well as Bible Studies, and a few more things. Or, if I put a repeat in a list with other things, since I didn’t always put a sole thing in the list. For the most part though, I tried to come up with something new – usually brought on by a specific person or event on that specific day – that I was thankful for. All this made it even more of a challenge; sometimes just to my level of gratefulness and other times to my memory as well!
Another thing I learned was the variety of things I really could be thankful for. One definition of being thankful, is to be “conscious of benefit received”, and in my case, conscious of benefit received from the LORD. There are more things than I would ever have imagined – things I would never have thought to be thankful for in the past. For instance; color variety – can you imagine living in a world of black and white? Or hearing – I’m so thankful that I can hear! Even (or especially!) when that ability is being assaulted by a bunch of people making random noises at the same time. Yes, I know, if I grew up with either of those two alternate realities, I wouldn’t necessarily know the difference. But I can be just as thankful for those, as I have been for baby cuddles, reading time, my Daddy, or people who make me laugh. This year taught me to look outside of my predefined box of what I should be thankful for.
Possibly the most difficult thing I have realized during this challenge, is just how unthankful I can be. There were nights that I sat in front of my journal or Facebook, staring at the empty page or status bar, wondering what on earth I was going to be thankful for. Really, how pathetic is that? Even on my worst days, how pathetic is it, that I can even sit and wonder about what to be thankful for?
Which brings me to my last and possibly most expected, cliché, or obvious paragraph; I discovered just how many blessings the LORD really has bestowed on me and just how thankful I really should be! It really is incredible! He has poured so many blessings on me, that it’s amazing!
And yet, even though I list them, I don’t always remember them. You would think, after 365 days of taking time to be thankful – truly thankful, mind! I wasn’t just typing something up to fulfill a challenge! – You would think that I would always be looking from a grateful perspective in my life. At least, most of the time! Yet, I don’t.
I should be praising the LORD, even in the midst of difficulties. I should be singing His name, even when I want to hide under a rock. I should be remembering His mercies, sharing His blessings, declaring His faithfulness at all times! Yet, far too often, I grumble, I complain, and I am ungrateful.
I do hope and trust that I have learned to be more thankful in the last months, but I know I’m far from finished learning. I could oh-so-easily forget the lessons from this year, but I pray that I don’t.
Now, 2013 has come to a close and we’ve begun the New Year. Will I continue with my thankful exercise? I think so. I think I hope so. I still have so much to learn in the area of thanksgiving! I pray that the LORD continues to teach me and may I learn ever so much more this year, than last!
To the KING be all the glory!