A good friend of mine may be the most thankful Christian on earth. He’s hardly ever down, rarely cynical, always seems up, and lives with a deep appreciation of God’s goodness. But most of us don’t live that way. We want to be more thankful, but there’s just so much we need from God and so amy problems we want Him to be aware of.
Thankfulness is a problem.
As Christians, thankfulness is essential to our walk with the Savior–but it isn’t easy. We have so little time to pray and so many hurtful and stressing troubles and worries, and take on a ton of guilt when some believer who seems more spiritual tells us we should be more thankful. There is barely enough time to even pray, and now we’re supposed to be thankful too?
Though there are many ways Christians can be more thankful, many books and articles on the subject, there is one simple formula that I follow every morning that makes me a more thankful Christian. Here are the three simple steps:
Step 1: Start with your left pinky.
Before you start your time alone with God, determine you’re going to be more thankful today. Grasp your let pinky and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of one way God showed up for you in the last 24 hours. And wait. I said, “wait.” Wait until he brings something to mind. It may be something as small as a friend dropping by to say hi, or something more dramatic like a good report from your doctor.
Step 2: Move right through your fingers, one finger at at time, and don’t quit!
You have ten fingers, so count them off one at a time. As you grasp each finger, ask the Holy Spirit again, “What else did my Father do over the last 24 hours to bless me, to guide me, to encourage me?” Don’t hurry the process and don’t quit. For some reason I always stall on number eight And then, once I persevere, saying, “Come on Holy Spirit, what is number eight?” the next two come quickly.
For instance, if I’ve had a particularly difficult day, the needs of my life sometimes start pressing in for attention in my mind. I tell myself, “No, Ed. You can ask about that in just a few minutes. Right now you’re waiting for the Spirit to bring something the Father wants you to remember about His grace and mercy in your life.” One morning I was stuck on eight when suddenly the thought came to me that just the night before one of my children had texted me to let me know of a way God had cared for her. “Oh yeah, that was cool, God. Thank you so much.” And than that thought about my daughter brought a flood of reminders of ways God had been active in the lives of my children and grandchildren. Before I knew it, I was on number eighteen!
Step 3: Grab your right pinky and pull both hands to the air and praise God!
“Wait a minute, Ed. That sounds weird to me.” Well, let it be weird. All I know is that when I sit in my quiet time chair early in the morning in the dark and raise my hands to God thanking Him for being so incredibly awesome, it does my heart good. And then, since I’m a journaler, I record my thoughts and thanksgivings in my journal.
If you take my advice on journaling and reviewing your journal at the end of the year, you will never again wonder why you need to be more thankful.
Question: What ways have you found to be more thankful?