“The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live….” – Albert Schweitzer, Reverence for Life
Today I drove out to Leiper’s Fork, TN to go to this adorable cafe, Joe Naturals. Every time I drive out this way I’m reminded of the beauty of Tennessee that I often forget. Rolling hills, dreamy farm houses and beautiful horses. The leaf-less branches are lovely, even though I can’t wait to see life bloom from them. While I ate my healthy vegetarian fix (the amazing veggie is just that…amazing) I thought about life revelations I’ve had. I collect them like picking flowers in a field: you reap what you sow, forgiveness brings life, live for others and then there’s one I’ve been mulling over these past few weeks: thankfulness brings breakthrough.
When I am thankful, focusing on what is instead of what isn’t, I am happier. Thankfulness only begets more thankfulness. This “life principal” of living daily saturated in thankfulness is more than being thankful for everything, covering it all with one big blanket labeled “thanks.” No, it’s deeper and richer than that. This rich, consuming, passionate thankfulness sees the small, seemingly insignificant gems that we so often brush past.
Once a speaker suggested we speak out what we are thankful for until we run out of words. You’d be surprised at how quickly this can happen. Give it two, maybe even three minutes. After you’ve thanked God for your spouse, your house, food, shelter, your children, your dog, transportation, community, essentially the basics, you start slowing down. At least, this is what happened to me.
But I pushed through—
your grace & love
the flowers in full bloom
the clouds at sunset….
lazy sundays on fridays
kindness from strangers
the man who opened the door for me
toilets and toilet paper
the smell of new books
Yep, I wept. I wept right after (out loud) I thanked God for toilet paper. It was breakthrough. You see, previous to this exercise I was frustrated, dare I say angry, at God. I can’t even remember what about, but something wasn’t going the way I thought it should and I was entitled to more. (Note to self: anytime you begin feeling entitled — time to take action — it’s a problem!). During the exercise I saw my selfishness, I saw my fear, my heart was exposed only to show the ugly places I harbored ingratitude. Here’s another truth: ingratitude, frustration, and overall discontentment– when dwelled upon == only begets more ingratitude, frustration and discontentment. And worse, it begins to birth bitterness which is an evil that will suck the life out of you quicker than anything. This I know to be true, proof: my nickname for a period of my life was “Bitter Betty.” The simple act of speaking out what I was thankful for, brought on a deep revelation that thankfulness brings breakthrough. That revelation, paired with intention, changed my life.
What are you thankful for?