Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Thankfulness List

Honestly, I am not nearly as thankful as I should be for, well, anything. I focus a lot on saying thank-you to people, but as for living thankfulness, that's a different story.

I do think thankfulness is important for living a truly content and happy life. Which would explain why I struggle with being content with what I have. I often find myself wishing for things I don't need, and--despite what I think--am probably better off without. Then I end up sulking or feeling like I am somehow inadequate because of what I don't have.

So, what better time of year to work on being thankful than Thanksgiving? I'm glad we have this time of year to help us re-focus, if we choose to let it. And while I usually laugh at the fact that it's followed by Black Friday's consumerism craziness, I'm glad it comes first. There's some hope for us if we can focus on thankfulness before we hit the holiday shopping season.

This is what I'm going to challenge myself, and all of you, to do: Make a thankfulness list like the one below. Get really specific and list all of the things you're thankful for. Then keep looking back at your list. Let it stay with you and remind you of all that you have as we move into a time of year that is often marked by greed. I hope and pray that gratitude will stick with us throughout the year.

My Thankfulness List

I am thankful for...
  • Jesus Christ. He'll always be at the top of my list, not because I want to be ultra-religious, but because I need him. I need him more than anything because his death and resurrection made a way for me to have a relationship with God. It freed me from the captivity of my sinful, selfish self, and gave me life. He is the reason why I am thankful.

  • My best and dearest friend, Nick, who also happens to be my husband. We've traveled a long road, from being acquaintances to co-workers, friends to more than friends, then back to friends to long-distance friends, after years back to more than friends, fiances to spouses. He's always been there for me, putting me and my needs above his own, showing me what Christ's unconditional love looks like. I love you, Nick!

  • My amazing family, which includes my wonderful parents, my awesome brother, my sweet in-laws and great sibling in-laws, two grandmas, uncles and aunts, crazy cousins and their adorable babies, and a cat and dog. It also includes some individuals who have made the journey to heaven, two of my unborn siblings who I can't wait to meet, and both my grandpas.

  • This journey of life God is taking me on. Some days I really don't know what he's doing and question him a lot. But when I look back, I can see how he has used different circumstances to bring me to important places and lessons and people.

  • My friends, near and far. I have had the pleasure of getting to know and befriend so many special people over the years. I am so thankful for how they have touched my life, challenged me and lifted me up in times of pain. I am so thankful for friendship.

  • The seemingly "unanswered" prayers. I used to beg God for a lot of things I thought I needed. Looking back, I'm so glad he said no.

  • Times of heartbreak. I was thinking about this the other night as I was falling to sleep. There were some different guys in my past that, at the time, I thought I would end up with. When things would fall apart, I would be heartbroken, but over time, God would mend the hurt. I'm so glad for those endings because they spared me from a lot more pain in the future, but I'm only now learning that.

  • Talents and abilities. Not just my own, because it is so great to see what each of my friends is good at. But I'm thankful that God made me a creative person because I find a lot of joy in making things, in writing, in taking pretty pictures, and in reading a good book.

  • Material things like a home to live in, a comfy bed to sleep in, delicious food to eat, a deck on which to grow plants, a phone to keep in touch with loved ones, warm clothes in the cold months, a computer to write on, coffee to drink, and books to line our shelves. We've been given a lot in this life.

What are you thankful for this year? I'd love to read your list, or even hear just one thing off of it, so please, share away in the comments! :)

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