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. Science seems to support this idea . . . so does Scripture. On multiple occasions, the Bible mentions the concept of renewing our minds and its impact on the entirety of our lives.
Since this is Thanksgiving week, I’m wondering if we can not only think our way to a better life, but also “thank” our way to a better life? Does an attitude of gratitude help us to be happier and healthier—even in the beast of a year 2020 has been?
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 too 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 what I’m thankful for in 2020. Let me share nine things I’m giving thanks for this year:
- I’m thankful for a God who rescued a miserable teenager from his empty life. He is the One who never leaves nor forsakes; who sticks with me in good times and bad, who leads and guides, blesses and provides, saves and heals, forgives and shields, who draws and comforts, who disciplines and corrects, who loves me more unconditionally than any person in the universe.
- I’m thankful for a wife who loves me despite my flaws, who lives with integrity and character, who makes me laugh, think, and inspires me to be a better man. Laura, I hit the jackpot with you!
- I’m thankful for our four boys who fill my life with joy, who’ve grown into men and matured, who work diligently, make me laugh, think, and inspire me to be a better dad.
- I’m thankful for three daughters-in-law who’ve enlarged our family circle, who’ve become (in my mind) the daughters we never had, and inspire me to strive toward being a great father-in-law.
- I’m thankful for the three most amazing granddaughters in the world. When they call me “papa” my heart skips a beat. They have me wrapped around their tiny little fingers.
- I’m thankful for my family of origin, Mom and Dad, who’ve both passed, five sisters and three brothers who provided so many good memories, who still love and watch over me, and inspire me to be a better brother.
- I’m thankful for brothers and sisters in Christ, who enrich my life, who love Jesus, their family, and love their friends; who motivate me, crack me up, and inspire me to be a better Jesus-follower.
- I’m thankful for eyes that see and ears that hear, for arms and legs that still work, for a brain that still functions, for a roof over my head, food on the table, running water, and warm clothes.
- I’m thankful for the natural beauty all around me; the Great Lakes, blue sky and sunshine, for the annual fall color show in Michigan which was incredibly spectacular this year, for the moon and stars.
The more things I write down today, the lighter my heart feels. Most of us reading this post are so blessed. Can I encourage you to take a few minutes today and list all of the things you’re thankful for? You’ll probably feel lighter, happier, and more content. It’s likely you’ll sleep better and lower your stress levels. And maybe, if this gratefulness thing becomes a yearlong habit instead of just something you do at Thanksgiving, perhaps you’ll begin the journey of thanking your way to a better life. When the world around us seems to be falling apart, we can still have joy by being thankful.
All of us here at Converge Coaching wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!