“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” — G. K. Chesterton
Autumn is almost here! This Friday marks 90 days until Thanksgiving. There’s a saying that goes like this: “It’s easy to find a hundred reasons to complain every day.” Pretty sure I tend to hit all 100 without even realizing it.
There are so many verses in the Bible that talk about giving thanks, letting our speech be edifying, and living in such a way that people incredulously ask about the hope/joy we have in us (and I’m not talking about being bubbly 24/7 – that exhausts everyone).
The Bible passage that stands forefront in my mind is Philippians 4:6-7, where it talks about not being anxious about anything, but to pray with thanksgiving, and the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.
Why Be Thankful?
If you think about it, a lot of complaining stems from anxiety, which stems from selfishness/self-preservation (pride) and short-sightedness.
Notice the passage couples prayer with thanksgiving (this doesn’t mean you can’t come to the Lord with requests or confusion). Why is that? Have you ever noticed your mind frame and outlook on life, or even how you treat others, changes when you are dwelling on “happy thoughts” (to quote Peter Pan)? You’re not anxious or feel like complaining in that moment do you? So, prayer with thanksgiving results in a peace from God that will guard us….as long as we have that mindset. Verse 8 goes on to tell us to mediate on things honorable, excellent, just, lovely, etc. and to practice those things.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice requires discipline. Bad (sinful) habits are hard to break. It requires prayer for a heart change and action (steps to get out of that habit). It’s such a struggle – even the apostle Paul talks about beating his body black and blue to bring it into submission.
All this to say, I want to practice and be more proactive at giving thanks more and complaining less.
Putting it Into Action
For awhile there was this hashtag/campaign about finding one thing a day that makes you happy: #100happydays. I want to start my own campaign, which I would love for you to join me in, to find one thing a day (at least) that I’m thankful for: #90thankfuldays. If I was more tech savvy and had thought about this months ago, then maybe I could have created a similar website like #100happydays…but, hey, I’m thankful for spontaneity in this case.
I would encourage you to not only have fun adding it to your Instagram photos or Facebook statuses, but that you really would meditate on just how blessed you are (hard to see at times, I know) and be swept away by joy.