We tend to think about our blessings a little more this time of year, over the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all that we’re grateful for, after all. Here’s something from a book by Max Lucado I read recently that seems fitting for this Thanksgiving weekend, as we relax and enjoy time with family and friends.
Gratitude is a mindful awareness of the benefits of life. It is the greatest of virtues. Studies have linked the emotion with a variety of positive effects. Grateful people tend to be more empathetic and forgiving of others. People who keep a gratitude journal are more likely to have a positive outlook on life. Grateful individuals demonstrate less envy, materialism, and self-centeredness. Gratitude improves self-esteem and enhances relationships, quality of sleep, and longevity. If it came in pill form, gratitude would be deemed the miracle cure. It’s no wonder, then, that God’s anxiety therapy includes a large, delightful dollop of gratitude.
My friend Jerry has taught me the value of gratitude. He is seventy-eight years old and regularly shoots his age on the golf course. (If I ever do the same, I’ll need to live to be a hundred.) His dear wife, Ginger, battles Parkinson’s disease. What should have been a wonderful season of retirement has been marred by multiple hospital stays, medication, and struggles. Many days she cannot keep her balance. Jerry has to be at her side. Yet he never complains. He always has a smile and a joke. And he relentlessly beats me in golf. I asked Jerry his secret. He said, “Every morning Ginger and I sit together and sing a hymn. I ask her what she wants to sing. She always says, ‘Count Your Blessings.’ So we sing it. And we count our blessings.”
Take a moment and follow Jerry’s example. Look at your blessings.
Do you see any friends? Family? Do you see any grace from God? The love of God? Do you see any gifts? Abilities or talents? Skills?
As you look at your blessings, take note of what happens. Anxiety grabs his bags and slips out the back door. Worry refuses to share the heart with gratitude. One heartfelt thank-you will suck the oxygen out of worry’s world. So say it often. Focus more on what you do have and less on what you don’t. It’s true. Gratitude is the secret to a life of contentment.
—MAX LUCADO, Trade Your Cares for Calm
What blessings in your life are you most grateful for?
Hope you had a special Thanksgiving and enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend! 🙂