Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Optimize Your Day: Thanksgiving
I don't need to explain to you what thanksgiving is. We all know that we should be grateful for the many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us. But I do want to impress upon you the importance of beginning your day with gratitude. There will be many things during the day that will make you want to fuss, gripe, or maybe even cry. That's just life. But by beginning your day with a focus on your blessings, it's much easier to overlook or deal with life's frustrations. By starting off with gratitude, we can circumvent that mindset that cries out, "Nothing good ever happens to me!"
There are so many things to be thankful for, and throughout the course of the day, we should try to thank the Lord for as many things as we can, whether it be the close parking space on a rainy day or the good report at the doctor's office. Big things. Little things. We do need to pay attention to how much God is doing in our lives.
But during your morning optimization, it is important to narrow your thanks down to one thing, preferably different than the days before. The reason for this is because it's easy for us to generalize things in our minds and actually to allow the thoughts to pass through our minds without really taking them in. In a sense, we begin to recite a list. "I'm thankful for my salvation and my family and my house and my church and. . ." But as we're reciting, are we giving thanks for those things, or are we simply stating the facts because we know we should be thankful for all those things? By narrowing it down to one thing per day, we force our minds to think about and focus on that one thing. Why am I thankful for this? How has it impacted my life? How can I use this blessing to impact the lives of others? Do you see how difficult it would be to do that with an entire list?
So, for your morning optimization, pick one thing for which you are truly grateful. As strange as it may seem, I've found that there's usually something specific on my heart that I want to thank the Lord for. I don't have to think about it. It's almost like I woke up with it on my mind. For example, this morning I woke up remembering that one of my big book promotions went well yesterday, and my book surpassed two of the top authors in the field. That excited me when I saw the results last night, so naturally, when I awoke this morning, those happy thoughts were still with me. So, during my thanksgiving time this morning, I praised the Lord for the high rankings on my book and for all the people who, I hope, will receive a blessing from said book.
What you choose to thank the Lord for is entirely up to you, but I think that you, too, will find that the Lord will place something on your heart. It doesn't have to be a big thing. In fact, it may seem very insignificant, especially to someone else, but that doesn't matter. If it's important to you, it's important to God, so thank Him for it. Fill your heart with gratitude for Who He is and what He's done! And when you've done that, you can move onto the next step which we'll discuss tomorrow, Lord willing.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. - Psalm 100:4