Wednesday, November 24, 2010

“Giving Thanks BEFORE Thanksgiving”

At my home church, our pastor challenged us to write down one thing we are thankful for every day for the whole month of November.

It is said that our actions naturally gravitate toward our self-talk: how we process information shapes how we will respond to situations. So, in theory, if we visualize and verbalize our thankfulness of things, then we should naturally live thankfully. So this was more of an experiment I suppose. Well, through the wonders of Facebook – I, and a few others, have been faithful to the challenge and I've been recording every response I see every day.

I am surprised that the results, actually. I expected something other than what this experiment reveals. Take a look at the list I have compiled of all the "Thankful" posts:

Thankful For: Stats
A Home10
A Good Job9
God's Blessings8
God's Promises7
Good People7
There were many many more, but all the rest fell at 5 times or less. Here are some of the more memorable ones:

The Bible, Hands & Feet, Salvation, Pastor, Peace, Friday, Chocolate, Pain Meds, Coffee, Tacos, Military, Mac N Cheese, Being At Home, The Challenge, Bark Collars, "Do-Overs", Miracles, Xanex, a Bed, Patience to deal with neurotic people, God's Timing, Nature, Sleep, Peanut Butter Pies, Music and Facebook.

Just because these things were not thanked for more than five times certainly does not mean that the one or fifth person to be thankful for it wasn't truly and deeply sincere in their thanks (I know for a fact the people who voted for Coffee and Chocolate would not be alive without it today!)

Not only are these stats interesting, as they give insight into the types of friends I have….(Animals before Good People….before Health…hehe…), but it shows us how people have not taken for granted the little and easily unnoticed things in their lives. Family especially – I believe there are many, many people who have members in their family, close or not, whom they don't realize how much they need them or how much they love them or appreciate them. Sadly, it's most often realized after that person is gone. But look what the stats say! Family was given thanks a whopping 18 times! I did not have 18 friends doing this! So it was thanked multiple times on multiple days!

Now, as for my friends, I have ALL types, ages, genres, locals, genders, religious views, attitudes, professions and living standards. It wasn't just people from my church that did this.

It's so encouraging to see what people are thankful for; like I said, not what I expected. And you want to know the most interesting thing about all this? NOT ONE PERSON said, "I am thankful for money." Yes, it was referenced in the things we see on the list, but it was always phrased as 'blessings'. Even when people were thankful for a job – it wasn't about the money. The words they used in describing their thanks were ones such as 'enjoyable' and 'rewarding'.

I hope this month has been full of things for you to be thankful for, and if you've forgotten to slow down and tell someone 'thank you', be it God, a friend, family, or just some random person, it may not be too late. Be thankful for what you've been blessed with, before It's gone, after it's gone and before you even get it. Be Thankful – Live Thankful!

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