Why is it so much easier to be ungrateful sometimes? Why does complaining and looking on the negative side breed more quickly in our minds than anything else? Maybe it’s just me?
I can complain all day about my 4-year-old who has decided to extend the season of the “terrible twos” for two more hair-pulling years.
I can grit my teeth at my husband who snores so loudly that you can probably hear him.
I can get frustrated at the pokey LEGOs that jab into the bottom of my feet, or the pile of laundry 90 miles high, or that mountain of dishes getting ready to tumble out the front door.
I can feel old, tired, and wrinkly when I look in the mirror and have to pluck out like 45 new gray hairs.
I can easily stay in that place of negativity and ungratefulness. But instead, I choose to shift my focus and approach everything from a place of gratitude.
I am grateful for my “terrible-two” four-year-old even when he runs full speed and accidentally knocks down the Christmas tree. He is truly a gift from God who I miraculously didn’t even have to “try” for this time.
I am grateful for my snoring husband who loves me despite my smelly feet.
I am grateful for each LEGO I step on, each piece of laundry I fold, and each dish I wash because that means that I have children who I thought I would never have in the first place.
I am grateful for the wisdom I’ve gained with age. I love who I am and who God created me to be . . . wrinkles, gray hair, granny panties and all.
It takes an effort not to stay in a place of “poor me” too long. It takes being intentional about my thinking, and it truly changes my perspective when I choose to turn a negative thought and look at it through a positive lens.
During this season of Thanksgiving, I pray when you feel negativity overwhelming your thoughts, you can just kick them to the curb and instead find the silver lining, look on the bright side, see the glass as half-full, look for the sunshine above the cloudy day and all those other wonderfully annoying, yet very true clichés.
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And on Thanksgiving Day, I hope that you will join my family and me as we stop for a moment, reach left and right, and put aside all of the frustrations and chaos of the day, holding hands, bowing heads, connecting together, uniting as one, and praying a prayer of gratitude:
“Lord, we are grateful for the food on our plate, and especially for the people around our table.”
And as the turkey gets carved and the conversations get going, I hope you will join us in discussing a few of these questions that will help our words reflect gratitude—not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day.
Here are 31 questions to ask around your Thanksgiving table:
- What food on your plate are you most thankful for?
- Why are you thankful for Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Telula, etc.?
- What is the smallest thing you are thankful for?
- What is the biggest thing you are thankful for?
- What are you most thankful for in your home?
- What are you most thankful for outside?
- What place are you most thankful for?
- What part of your childhood brings you feelings of gratitude?
- What are you most thankful for today?
- To whom would you like to write a “thank you” note right now?
- What teacher/boss/mentor/leader are you most thankful for?
- In what ways has your gratitude changed as you have grown older?
- Would you be more grateful for more money, more time, or more sleep?
- In what ways is gratitude missing from our society?
- How can you be more grateful from now on?
- Why is a grateful attitude sometimes challenging?
- What has God done in your life that you are most thankful for?
- How has your faith increased your gratitude?
- What strength about yourself are you most thankful for?
- What bible verse about gratitude brings you comfort?
- Why is an “attitude of gratitude” so important?
- How can you show gratitude for your family?
- How can you show gratitude for your friends?
- What does thankfulness look like?
- How did Jesus exemplify gratitude?
- What attribute of God are you most thankful for?
- Which do you tend to turn to first—worry or gratitude?
- How many words can you find in the word “Gratitude”?
- How many words can you find in the word “Thankfulness”?
- What song/book/animal/friend are you most grateful for?
- What is a key to a more grateful life?
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Want a great way to end the day with your kids? Try asking them these four important questions at bedtime.