Th(i)nkful: a determined choice to download grace/strength from the Lord to think thanks about every circumstance in my life and to express that thanks orally or in a written form.
So…practically what does that really look like?
30,000 Feet Up
In counseling we are taught a principle to use when helping someone who is, as we say, “lost in Manhattan.” They’re in a maze of tall troubles; they spin around disoriented, feeling lost and hopeless. How can we help them?
It is called getting them “30,000 feet up.” Imagine yourself pulling them up to 30,000 feet and then looking down at their problem – viewing things, you might say, from God’s viewpoint. The giants are now small. You can look down on streets and see the main roads out of the city.
Getting a better and higher perspective on what really matters can be the key that gives hope and helps us cope. What is the big, big picture? We were born, we live, and we will die. What is going to really matter in the long run? Will it matter 100 years from now? And for all the darkness in the city of my life, where are the lights? Where are the signposts? Who put them there for me, and how can I tell Him “thank you?”
I stumbled over the th(i)nkful concept while going through a difficult time in my life. I knew from scripture that I was to give thanks in every circumstance, but I was hard-put to do just that. As I studied out the etymology of the word thanks, I discovered that it came from the ancient root word tong which meant to think/ feel. Expressing thanks is based on 1) stopping, 2) reflecting on your circumstances, and 3) choosing a positive thing on which to focus. Thank comes after think. Expressing thanks doesn’t just happen naturally, and especially not when times are hard.
So th(i)nkful was created to encourage us all to forge a life-pattern of repeatedly stopping, thinking, choosing the good, and expressing our thankfulness for, and our thankfulness to … the One who is the source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).
This life-pattern is being th(i)nkful, first thinking, then choosing the good, then giving thanks. Expressing the thankful thoughts, either orally or writing them down, enforces the brain neuron pathway. Every time you push yourself to be th(i)nkful you secure that brain pattern a little bit more. You choose to focus on the things you can give thanks for. You also need to give the gift of your gratitude to the One who deserves it. We are thankful to, not just thankful for.
- I have a brain that allows me to think
- Phil. 4:13 promises me strength to obey God when He asks me to give thanks always
- the blessings that follow gratitude, like peace, contentment
- discovering joys and pleasure that I take for granted, like when pain goes away
- th(i)nkful journals that allow me to record my thankful thoughts
- reading the journals later remind me to continue to think thanks in the present
- focusing on my blessings, minimizes my difficulties
I choose to focus on the silhouette in this picture. Daming Lake, Jinan, China