The Tool of th(i)nkful
The concept of th(i)nkful is not designed to be just more written material on thankfulness that logs in the corridors of your mind. There are loads of books out there on gratitude and the benefits of being thankful. Rather, th(i)nkful is a tool that shows you how you can think thanks and express that thanks orally or in a written form, thereby obeying the Lord when He says that you are to give thanks in every circumstance.
The job that needs to be done is to carve a thought pattern that is quick to analyze things for which we can be thankful.
There are ways to build thought patterns within our minds to always be on the lookout for what we can think thanks about in every situation – I’ll call them “carving tools.” Carving a groove – creating a mental preoccupation with thankfulness – is a safeguard that can keep our hearts and souls from destruction. There are times when it is easy to identify what to be thankful for, and there are times when being thankful is the last thing you want to be. A cool side benefit of this groove is that as you carve out the brain pattern, it becomes easier and easier to “get in the groove” – to spontaneously recognize the things to be thankful for.
Decide, Carve, and Express
The active parts of the definition of th(i)nkful are: choose, think, and express.
th(i)nkful is a determined choice to download grace/strength from the Lord to think thanks about every circumstance that comes my way and express that thanks orally or in a written form.
My trust in the Lord enables me to choose to think thanks, but it is not enough to just think it, but I must express it either orally or in a written form. The expressing part is the observable part that God and others appreciate. That expression of thanks is to someone and not just for something.
God has issued a command: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” We have to figure out how we can implement that command. As with most good things in life, it begins with a choice in the heart. This initial commitment then is followed with a hundred small decisions reminding me to search for the good elements in the circumstance, or the greater good that will come from it. Each time I do this, I carve the rut of holiness deeper, and the more I get in the habit of doing this, the easier it will come for me. But as a necessary next step, these gems of truth can’t just stay in my thoughts, but must radiate their way out of me by either something I speak or write.
Get in the Habit
Although there is some speculation as to how long it takes to formulate a new habit, most research says that 30 days is a good start for setting a new pattern. I tend to be like a turtle and set little goals at a time. How about choosing to begin forming a pattern in your mind that you will be th(i)nkful to God for one thing every day and express that to someone or write it down?
I had a reader recently write that in their family they have started a habit that before they pray with their children at bedtime, everyone says one thing they are thankful for from that day. That is a great start!
Changing Perspective without Changing Circumstances
I have to use the tool of choosing to think thanks and then express that thanks orally or in a written form. I put on the “glasses of gratitude” and look at everything around me and in me through those lenses. God has promised that He is sovereign and is going to give me all I need to do His will if I will appropriate that grace (I Cor.10:13).
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thess. 5:18