As I am writing this, we are in the wonderful week when we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving in the United States. It is great opportunity to gather with friends and family and give thanks for things in our lives. It is one of my favorite holidays.
These past few months, I have been focusing on giving thanks more of the time, not just around the Thanksgiving holiday. This was sparked by a Bible verses that has caught my attention…the one that encourages us to “give thanks in all things.” Can you really give thanks in ALL situations? This was a very thought-provoking idea to me.
I understand the first part about giving thanks, but the second part always seemed strange to me…how could it be true that we should give thanks in ALL things? What about the things that seem like failures? What about the circumstances we don’t like and wish we could change? What about challenging people and business situations? Give thanks for these things? It just seemed a bit crazy to me.
But then I thought, “What if it wasn’t just an error in the translation and it was actually what was really meant by the verse? What if I try it and see what happens…like an experiment?” So, that is what I have been doing in recent months and it has really been transforming my perspective in many ways…in both my business and my personal life.
Even though it felt very strange at first, I did it as a practice or an experiment, out of my commitment to do it. It was purely a decision, an act of the will, even if my feelings didn’t match up with the words. A friend suggested that I walk around for a day or two mentally saying “thanks” for everything that happened…for the happy things, the frustrating things, for the big things, and for the little things. Just to begin the process.
After just a couple of days of this I noticed that, it became a little bit easier to do it. Even thought I didn’t always see how the circumstances were something to be thankful for, I did it anyway. I began to be curious and to wonder about how the specific thing or situation might actually be a blessing in some way, even if it wasn’t clear to me at the time. Just thinking about this seemed to help ease whatever frustration or upset I might be feeling about the situation.
And later, I noticed that I was starting to actually feel more sincere in offering my thanks, even for the “challenging” or “difficult” things. I have begun to trust that there may actually be a hidden blessing there, even if I couldn’t see it. Or to say a little prayer asking that the situation be used in some way for good.
I’m still not perfect in my practice of giving thanks in all situations. I still sometimes have to remind myself to do it, especially for tough situations. And it is often not my first thought in a situation, but I find that the “thanks” often follows pretty soon after. Two benefits seem to happen. When a situation seems to be negative, offering thanks for it seems to ease some of the negative emotion from the experience. And, when the situation was something positive, I noticed that giving thanks seemed to expand my good feelings. Pretty cool!
Want to join me in this experiment? I’d love to know your thoughts and your experiences with this, and I invite you to leave a comment below. And I want you to know that, yes, I am very thankful for you, for your friendship, for your business, for reading this, for walking on the journey together. Have a wonderful blesssed Thanksgiving!