“Okay, time to go around the table and tell everyone what you’re most thankful for!”
Yup, I’m that girl. Some people love it, and some people hate it. I understand why others may groan or laugh at this exercise. It may seem trite, trivial, or cheesy.
“Well, duh, I’m thankful for family” or “Of course, I’m thankful for health.”
It may feel silly in the moment. But, I fear that thankfulness gets a bad rap.
It has almost become this light-hearted, insignificant hashtag like #blessed or #liveauthentic.
*cue the cringing
But I don’t perceive thankfulness as this weak, fluffy, idealistic act. Not at all.
To me, thankfulness is the life preserver thrown out to you when you’re drowning in a sea of fear. It is the loud, bold “NO” pushing back on the pressures of a society trying to make you feel like you don’t have enough.
Thankfulness is the blazing sun giving life to a dying, depressed soul.
I could go on and on because that’s how passionate I am about giving thanks. If we’re not making an effort to be thankful, we will be perpetually stuck in a cycle of always wanting more and never feeling satisfied. Sound familiar?
And without being thankful in every circumstance, good or bad, all of our trials, every mountain we’ve had to climb and every storm we’ve had to endure, would be in vain. Your pain would be a waste.
But, when you look back on the most challenging times in your life and say, “I’m thankful for that,” your heart begins to change. How? Something or someone that once had the power to steal your happiness and your peace has now become the thing that aides to your emotional and spiritual growth.
Instead of wallowing around in your tears, you’re refusing to stay stuck in the mud by finding the silver lining, no matter how thin it may be, and using that line to pull you out of the mess. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Thankfulness is powerful, y’all.
Don’t get me wrong; while I strongly believe in the power of being thankful, I often abandon it in my everyday life. For example, a few weeks ago I had a span of a few ungrateful days. I was in a bad mood that I couldn’t shake, I felt discouraged and nothing seemed to be working out the way that I wanted. I was pretty comfortable in my pity-party.
Then, at the end of the workday, I walked outside.
The soft wind, the perfect temperature, the sun ever-so-slightly peering through the gray clouds, and the dancing flowers did something to me.
I believe God sent me that moment. Because when I silently thanked Him for the perfect weather, my mood instantly changed. By the time I got to my car, I realized that an entire three days of being unhappy and frustrated had suddenly shrunk into nothing. I can’t even explain how being thankful for something so simple was able to outplay the pile of frustrations I had in my heart, but it did.
If you feel trapped in a funk, if your anxieties are gaining control, and if your list of disappointments is growing by the hour, please take a moment and fight back! Fight back by giving thanks.
It may not feel like something you really want to do in that moment. It may feel a lot like pulling teeth. I get it. But if you’re tired of where you are, please muster up a little strength to dig through your heart in search of true, deep gratitude.
H.A. Ironside, author and teacher, said, “We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”
So, when someone asks you what you’re thankful for this year and you’d rather just focus on the turkey and ham, pause before you laugh it off. Consider the seemingly small things you experience every day, and the dauntingly dark days that have shaped who you are. Give it a whirl. Giving thanks is serious business.
This post originally appeared on IAmSecond.com and was republished with permission.