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6 REASONS TO GIVE THANKS THIS YEAR

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day!

I’ve heard business and psychology gurus pitch the idea that we can think our way to a better life. Their premise? Our brain is soft-wired, and can be re-wired by thinking positively, and in doing so, we can have a happier life.

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I’m wondering if we can “thank” our way to a better life. Does an attitude of gratitude help us to be happier?

The Opalewski family has a tradition every year at Thanksgiving breakfast: we go around the table, and each person shares what they’re thankful for during the past year. (I know . . . not super-original.) I look forward to this annual ritual, because surprises always emerge as the kids and Laura share their reasons for being grateful.

And that annual tradition has me thinking this morning about six things I’m especially thankful for in 2018:

I am married to the love of my life

Laura is a gift from God to me. She’s walked alongside me through good times and bad, prosperous seasons as well as seasons where things were tight. In peaks of tremendous joy, and through valleys of deep sadness, she has remained immovable. I couldn’t have asked for a better wife. I’m feeling especially thankful for her this morning.

I have four amazing boys

Each one of them is unique in their gifting, personality, and calling. They’ve brought so much joy into my life. I cherish the season we are now in. As they’ve become men, our relationship has morphed into that of friends primarily. The older I get, the more I treasure time spent with them. So grateful today for these four guys.

I have three incredible daughters-in-law

Each one is a perfect fit for our sons. I appreciate the feminine touch they’ve brought to our brood of boys. I love them more each passing day. I’m am thankful my sons have found the love of their lives.

The most wonderful granddaughter in the world was born to us this year (No bias here)

She is pure delight to this papa’s heart. I think about her every day. It’s a joy watching her grow physically, while developing her own personality. The love I feel for her is inexplicable. So much so, that even when she cries, I interpret it as her saying: “I want papa!” Feeling blessed today as I think about the privilege it is to be called “papa.”

We’ve welcomed a new girl into our family this year

Our youngest boy is dating a wonderful young lady whom we love. She brings joy and laughter to him, and to us as well. She is an answer to many prayers. And I am deeply grateful to God for her.

Converge Coaching is experiencing its best year ever

It’s been a year of wonderful growth, breaking into new territories, and launching new ways to come alongside leaders and churches. The work is fun and fulfilling. I get to do what I love for a living. How amazing is that? I feel blessed beyond measure when it comes to my calling.

Wow—the more I reflect on this past year, the more I realize 2018 has been so good. To be transparent, we’ve faced several difficult moments. We’ve encountered some stretches that presented unexpected and significant challenges. But God has helped/is helping us work through those trials, teaching us new things about ourselves along the way—and for that I’m thankful this morning.

Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it? It’s hardly ever “all good” or “all bad.” I guess most often it’s a mix of both. When I choose to be grateful for what I do have, instead of ungrateful for what I don’t have, my heart feels lighter. My outlook brighter. Happiness resides nearby. Life just seems better.

My wish for you this Thanksgiving is that God will give you the ability to focus on what is good in your life. To celebrate everything and everyone you possibly can. And that you will learn everything you can from the tough stretches. Happy Thanksgiving my friends!

I’m rooting and praying for you!

John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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