There is this farmer in Canada who has a wife named Ann. God has gifted Ann to put words together like few that I've read. She wrote this book titled "One Thousand Gifts" about how looking for things to give thanks to God for every day and writing about it changed her life. It's a great read and one that has disturbed my life somewhat. She listed a thousand things that she thanked God for (hence the title of the book) in a year. So, I decided to that as well. I would write down a thousand things I thanked God for in a year. I started on March 3, 2012 and I'm up to 333. Not exactly a stellar performance, though rewarding.
One Sunday our pianist played "Blessed Assurance" while we were giving our offerings at church. The phrase "This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior, All the day long" from that song just captured me. I thought, "What a dynamic way to live." What if I could live with thanking and praising God as my primary focus in life.
So, yesterday as I thought about what I would do for a "first" today the idea came to me that I would thank God in every situation today out loud as much as possible. I know that I'm supposed to thank God in all things every day because the Bible says so and I've even preached about it. Preaching about it and doing it are two different things.
So, I woke up this morning and thanked God for the good night's rest. This is not unusual as I have been in the habit of doing that pretty consistently since the kids were little and a good night's sleep was not something to be counted on in the Wilkinson household. We have been staying with family over the Christmas holidays and today was the dreaded day to attempt to pack up all the gifts, clothes, dirty clothes (now in a separate container than they arrived in thus taking up more space), food (read desserts and sweets here), pillows, blankets and people in the vehicle and see if we can arrive home with all of it. Typically, this is where I look at what goes in the verhicle and then the vehicle and make some statement of faith like, "That will never fit." This statement is typically made where nobody but the Lord and I can hear it. Today, I said out loud, "Thank You, Lord for all the clothes, food, pillows, blankets, gifts and people that are supposed to go into that vehicle. Thank You that we have an SUV that has a chance of containing all the above items. Thank You for the great visit we've had. I began to notice a distinct change in my attitude. This change was indeed positive.
This I've attempted to do all day with moderate to above average success. I found that I needed to keep reminding myself that I was actually thanking God and not just saying words of thanks. I think that was one of the bigger challenges. The other big challenge was to thank God when I recieved news that was unpleasant or had emotions that were unpleasant. You just have to know that is going to happen on a day when you try something like this seriously.
I thanked God for little things today- being able to scratch when I had an itch and when I couldn't reach it I thanked God for a wife who could, would and did with a joyful spirit.
I thanked God for the privilege of working with my children to hook up thier new Wii U- this is still in progress and the possibility of complaints interfereing with the thanksgiving possible.
I thanked God for children who were getting along very well on a long drive. This is not to be an underestimated blessing.
I thanked God for the people that I heard from that are having a really hard time. I thanked God that He is with them and can redeem any situation.
I thanked God for more thngs today that I have in a long time. Hopefully, He enjoyed this a lot. That's really the idea. God is to be the center of my life and not me. I found there are many, many things to thank God for in a day and many things to complain about. Whatever I focus on tends to take control of my thought life.
So, today my "first" was to really concentrate more than anything on thanking God for every thing and doing it out loud. I know this is a command to be obeyed every day and today was a good reminder and helper for that. This also explains why I'm listing 3 things every day at the end of each post. I plan to have another first at the end of the year.
Real quick, thank God out loud for 3 things. Just for fun, why not make it something you either have never thanked God for or for something you have not thanked God for in a long time. I'm counting on thanking God tomorrow that He helped me come up with a new first!
3 things I thank God for today
1. Great visiting time with friends and family during Christmas
2. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
3. Aunt Allie's Louisiana shrimp casserole