There Are As Many Ways To Show Gratitude
As There Are Reasons
To Be Grateful
Everyone should be thankful. The Bible not only teaches this it also plainly commands us to be thankful.
Give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
And that verse finishes by saying “for this is the WILL OF GOD for you in Christ Jesus.”
If that were the only verse mentioning gratitude you might have an excuse for whinging but there are many additional verses that make the same point.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
That’s just a sample. There’s plenty more where that came from.
More importantly, what we learn from the Thessalonian command is that gratitude is more a mental exercise than an emotional response.
Instead of being momentarily grateful for some unexpected benefit on the odd occasion, it’s to be a constant state of mind, even when there is nothing happening in the moment that tickles our Thank You button.
That means it is the byproduct of an intentional mental exercise more than a passing response to things as they happen.
In fact, if gratitude is exercised properly you’ll find yourself expressing appreciation for many things and to a great variety of people often, not just one day a year.
Don’t misunderstand. My one-day-a-year comment is not intended to diminish the significance of this important day. The celebration offers a unique opportunity to really give muscle to the idea of giving thanks.
It’s a great way to mark the end of one year and the beginning of the next but there is no end to things for which we can be thankful and the ways in which gratitude can be expressed. It’s an everyday attitude and an all-year-long experience.
We all know these things intuitively to be true but I was pleasantly reminded of that fact when I received the following email from my son, Timothy.
At some point in the last decade or so I realized that I am a person who gravitates towards naysaying, negativity, criticism, and generally wishing for things to be other than they are. I had to learn to make a concerted effort to look for the positive in every situation. I learned that keeping a positive outlook becomes habitual if you practice it and that living life in that way produces more contentment and happiness.
I fail at seeing the positive often. My wife and kids could attest to that. But I’m committed to positivity and part of finding the positive in every situation is making note of the things that you are grateful for.
In that vein, I have to say that I am grateful for each of you. Mom and Dad, you did your very best to give Ennis and me a happy and safe childhood. You taught us what is right and wrong. You led by example. You taught us the importance of working together with our significant others. You taught us the value of hard work. You showed interest in who we are as people and you admitted when you were wrong. We NEVER doubted your love for us because you reminded us of it daily. You did good. You did very very good.
Ennis, you are the best of brothers. I always knew you had my back. I always knew I could count on you. For many years you were my best friend. You were someone I looked up to and aspired to be like. We are very different people but I admire your entrepreneurship and tenacity. I admire your leadership in your family. I’m very proud of who you are.
Sara, when I started getting to know you I realized that you are someone who speaks very forthrightly, something I always found challenging. It was refreshing to speak to someone in that way because I didn’t have to wonder what you were thinking. I admire that and it’s something that I recognized in Joelle when I first met her. I think you are someone with many gifts and it was very good for me to have you and Ennis as an example of what marriage and love could look like when I was dating people I didn’t really love. Your talks with me in the kitchen at various times always helped set me back on the correct path and helped me cut through the confusion and see what I was doing more clearly. Thank you.
Joelle, you are an amazing person. The more I get to know you, the more I realize the truth in that. I immediately recognized your strength of character, your strong will, and your vibrant personality, but as we’ve lived together in marriage, sometimes butting heads (because I’m a goat), sometimes working seamlessly together, I’ve learned more about the struggles and challenges you’ve faced and am more amazed each day that you’ve come through it all to be stronger, better, smarter, tougher, (and more beautiful if I may say so) than I could have hoped for. You do everything that you do with all of yourself, including loving me and Ridley and Gus. I am very grateful to be learning how to be a husband and father with you. You deserve all the very best parts of me and you are going to receive rewards in heaven for putting up with the rest of me. I love you with all my stubborn heart.
I’m grateful for the strong ties we have as a family and I just wanted you all to know that, while I may not write long emails to you quite as often as I used to, I still think of you always and have nothing but love and fondness for all of you.
I hope your Thanksgiving is full of happy things and thankfulness.
As you can see, Tim has developed the art of gratitude and he has a way with words. The angst he references has motivated his writing for years. He’s written a book, yet to be published, that details some of his ups and downs and he’s recorded a large number of songs you might find interesting. They can be found on Spotify and Apple Music. One of my many favorites is on YouTube along with many others.
Practice gratitude. It will change your life. It’s made a difference in Tim’s.