Thanksgiving is such a great reminder to take time to be thankful for what we have. Rather than just focus on being thankful one day out of the year, it would be great to continue that attitude of gratitude on a daily basis. Here are some ways to help your family, small group, or co-workers develop an attitude of gratitude.
T-Take time to thank someone. Words of affirmation can mean the world to a person. They could be having a bad day and a simple word of encouragement could change it. Take time to pray and ask God to show you who He would like you to encourage. It could be a friend, classmate, coworker, or someone at church. Ask God to show you what He would like you to share with. It could be a character quality you admire, something that they did that impacted you or an act of service that you saw. Don’t worry if you don’t know the person that well. Ask God to give you the courage needed to share. You might want to write a thank you note or take the person out to coffee and share with them why you are thankful.
H-Host a meal. It could be for your small group or friends from ministry. Don’t limit it just to the people that you know. Ask God to show you someone or a family that might need an invitation. Holidays can be challenging for those that are not close to their family. You might consider inviting a college student, someone in the military, or just a friend that lives far away from those they love. Take time during the meal to get to know one another. This can be something fun to do once a month. If you don’t have the space or the finances to host a meal, find a restaurant and ask everyone to meet there.
A-Adore God. Spend five minutes each day for the next week in adoration of God. Thank Him for His creation. Thank Him for the things that He has done and is doing in your life. During this time, do not pray requests. Instead focus on His character and who He is. It can be helpful to read through the Psalms too. Go for a walk at the beach, park or forest preserve. Slow down and observe the details of His creation. Being in nature is a good reminder of some of the amazing things God has done.
N – No negativity. If you feel a negative thought or criticism creeping in, ask God to help you take captive of that thought. Ask a friend, accountability partner or small group member to hold each other accountable to focusing on what is positive versus negative thoughts. That person can remind you of some of the ways God is working in your life, the gifts and talents He has entrusted you with and the calling you have for your life. Find some scripture passages that help you have a heart of gratitude.
K– Keep a list. It can be easy to forget some of the things God has done in our lives. Take time this weekend to write a list of all the things God has done this year. It could be in your journal, a thank you letter or a note in your phone. Then when you are having a difficult time or not understanding why God isn’t answering your prayer, look back on that list and remember all of the ways that He has worked in your life. Sometimes it can even help to thank God in the midst of our troubles. “Thank you God that you are at work, even though I might not understand it.”
S-Serve together. Grab your friends, family or small group and find a service project where you can serve together. It might be a ministry at your church, a local non-profit or even a mission trip. Serving others can help us be thankful. It often puts us in a position to show us how blessed we really are. After you serve, grab a meal or coffee together and share how the experience impacted you. It might even be something you consider doing together on a consistent basis.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18