Day 12: Why Be Thankful?

Every November, I use the space here on Everyday Truth to provide you with a family devotional to get your family focused on their blessings. Join me here every day for a new installment of the devotional. It’s a great way to get your family focused on Thanksgiving before the mad rush to Christmas. You can find the the days you’ve missed here and any printables here, then follow along with me all month to learn about being thankful for the people in your family’s life. Pin it, share it, tweet it, invite your friends to join you. It’s going to be a great month.

A Thankful Heart

Why should we be thankful? Why should we tell others that we're thankful for them?

We're about halfway through our month of being thankful for others, and I wanted to take a minute to reflect on why it's important to practice gratitude.

You see, thanksgiving isn't just a day in November when we eat turkey. It's an action. And like any action, if we don't practice it, then we can forget how to do it or we can be really bad at it.

Think about it this way. If you want to be a really good basketball player, what do you do? You get out on the driveway and practice your dribbling, your jump shot, and your layup. You join a team and go to practice. Then, when game time comes, you can dribble past the opposing player and make the basket.

The same is true for learning to be thankful. When we make an effort to practice being thankful, like we're doing this month, we learn how to express thanks. We change our perspective on the world. We start to look for things we can be thankful for. We start to treasure the little things, the unnoticed people. We create a habit of thanksgiving.

When a basketball player who has been practicing goes to shoot a layup, he doesn't have to think about what he needs to do. His muscles remember the repetition and do the work almost automatically. He doesn't have to consciously think, "I need to put my foot here, lift my leg, raise my hand and shoot the ball." It just happens.

When we practice being thankful, we create "muscle memory" for our hearts and brains. We become thankful people without conscious effort. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances." Learning to do that is hard. There are some circumstances when thanksgiving doesn't come easy. But if we've practiced being thankful when things are going well, then we can find reasons to be thankful when things aren't going as well.

Remember that being thankful is an action that requires practice. Practice it today.


Action step: As you go about your day today, think about all the people we've chosen to be thankful for already this month. Remember that those days have been practice for when it's not as easy to be thankful. When someone rubs you the wrong way today or frustrates you, practice being thankful for them. Find something about that person to be thankful for.