by Ana Batts
“In fifteen years of marriage, this is the busiest that we have ever been. If I can just make it to Thanksgiving, I think I can survive.”
I heard the words come out of my mouth before I could stop myself. Then the voice of conviction pierced my heart: “If you do thanksgiving first, the rest will work itself out.”
The busyness of my life had begun to quench my gratitude for the amazing gifts, tasks, and opportunities that God has blessed me with. I am working on creating a culture of gratitude in my heart and my home so that we can “do thanksgiving first” this year.
Here are three goals that I have set for myself in my ongoing journey toward thankfulness.
1. Clear the Clutter
With 6 kids and 2 adults in a 3-bedroom house there is always clutter in our house. The fight against the stacks of papers and things that want to clutter our counters and take up our space is nonstop. Clearing the physical clutter helps me focus less on “stuff” around me and more on the moments of our life.
But there is a much more dangerous kind of clutter that creeps in and takes our mental energy—the clutter in our schedule. Charles Hummel aptly called it the “tyranny of the urgent.” There is a nonstop parade of “good” things that are happy to take our time. Creating space in our schedule by saying “no” to good things so we can say “yes” to the best things will give us the mental space to make gratitude a priority.
2. Change the Narrative
The things we talk about are the things that we focus on. If we focus on the negative, we will always find the cloud instead of the silver lining, and our hearts will find it easier to complain than to be thankful. Shifting the focus by changing the narrative in our minds will help our hearts be more grateful no matter the circumstance.
3. Center the Gratitude
One thing I enjoy about November is seeing all the posts on social media as friends share the things that they are thankful for. But #blessed #grateful #thankful is not a substitution for actually thanking the One who is the giver of all good gifts. Taking time to privately and publicly address our thankfulness to God is important part of a healthy spiritual life.
As you travel through the busy seasons of this life, my prayer for you is that you find time for thankfulness in the everyday and that the culture of your home will be one of gratitude all year long.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.