Thanks - Reflections on Thanksgiving
Let’s talk turkey — the “frankly” kind, not the “and dressing” kind. A few days ago a woman said to me, “I hate Thanksgiving. The past few years it just reminds me that I don’t have much to be thankful for. Where did God go?” As she talked in detail about her situation, I realized that she had been going through a whole lot for a long time. These days God seemed more like a far off notion than someone who loves her.
The greater we invest in our relationship with God, the less we require positive experiences or circumstances to choose gratitude. To be grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is great, but gratitude will help us find the blessings, even the tiny ones, that God tucks into each and every day. And when things don’t go our way, or we face adversity, as Christians who practice gratitude our questions will tend to be: “What good might God choose to do with this?” and “What can I learn from this?”
As I lay my head on the pillow at the end of a day, I think of at least three specific things to thank God for before I fall asleep. Even at the end of the most challenging day it’s not hard to come up with three blessings! And before I put my feet on the floor in the morning I thank God, whose mercies are new every morning, for another day! Shakespeare was really onto something when he said, “I can no answer make but thanks, and thanks and ever thanks…”
"Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.” - Psalm 136:1
When I read this, I identified with the truth of it. And then remembered a concept from a psychology class called “cognitive reframing.” there’s a lot I could say about it, but basically, it is a technique (just as you described it) that has been used to demonstrate that a person’s mind can be used to create a permanent shift in their perspective. It is an idea with great power to change our lives.