One of my greatest blessings is spending time with my grandchildren. Sweet smiles, snuggles, new words, waves, blown kisses, and first steps are among the joys.
Recently, our granddaughter started reciting the names of her loved ones when we gather for a meal. Mommy and Daddy are first, followed by others at the table—Glam and Bop (us!), often spoken as one word, Glambop, NeeNee (Aunt Neely), Kunkle (Uncle Kyle), Gibbs, her cousin, (who she also calls Gibby or Bubba), and “Chinkie” (her great-great-aunt). Then she moves on to naming those not present. This sweet little girl is doing what many of us forget to do. She is counting her blessings.
Here are some reasons to count your blessings:
In a world that values acquisition and titles, we’re often so focused on what we plan to purchase or achieve next, we are blind to what we already have. Envy sneaks in and directs attention to what others have that we wish we had. Our coveting is not always about possessions. Recognition, fame, or leadership positions may be the desired acquisitions. Many people feel entitlement rather than gratitude. Instead, notice and give thanks for everyday blessings, both big and small.
Intangible Blessings Deserve Recognition
We enjoy many freedoms and conveniences we take for granted. The liberty to conduct business, assemble, travel and worship; a form of government that isn’t overthrown on a regular basis; no debtors’ prisons with little hope of escape; roads and bridges that are maintained; running water; reliable electricity; food; health care; police and fire protection. The list could go on indefinitely. We have come to expect comforts and are easily annoyed if something isn’t readily available. All it takes is a takes is a trip outside our country to a developing nation to see we are blessed beyond measure.
Enumeration Serves as a Reminder
The words of an old hymn say it best, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
Many times we are burdened with problems, grief, or health concerns. We become so focused on negatives that positives seem nonexistent. But listing your blessings serves as a reminder of all that is good in life. If you have a hard time getting started with a list, go back to a time when blessings were obvious and abundant. Write those and come forward in time. Your list will grow as you remember things you’ve forgotten and see how they connect to present circumstances. As you make your list, thank God for his provision and protection.
Cultivating a Thankful Heart Changes Your Perspective
We live in a world full of complaining, blaming, and negativism. Recognizing and voicing blessings in this type of climate is often ignored or shouted down. But you don’t have to take on the mindset of the world. Cultivating a thankful heart takes a little practice, but once you begin to recognize blessings your perspective changes.
Often we ask God to change something our lives—take away a challenging situation or relationship, heal a physical or emotional wound, make provision where there seems to be none—but then fail to thank him for answered prayer.
Several years ago, I suffered for a year with frozen shoulder. Treatment required intense physical therapy. Now, that I am pain-free and have normal range of motion, I hardly think about that year of pain and discomfort, but I can continue to give thanks for an end to that time in my life. Remember to be grateful for the absence or end of something as well as the additions.
Express thanks to others. It’s normal to thank someone for a gift, but often we forget to thank service personnel for serving us, or for being kind and gracious in the process. Begin to be aware and thank those you encounter on a daily basis. Your expression of gratitude may be the only positive words in that person’s life that day, or that week.
Encourage your children and grandchildren to be aware of blessings and give thanks for them by modeling thankfulness with words and deeds. Family traditions, heritage, loving togetherness are truly among our greatest blessings.
Thanksgiving is more than one day on the calendar. Giving thanks is an attitude of the heart.
Name one of your greatest blessings in the comments.
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High.” Psalm 92:1 NLT