There is something so powerful and amazing about the act of giving thanks, that's it's hard not to take notice. Changed lives, changed minds and changed hearts happen when we give thanks to God. Giving thanks brings joy. Giving thanks brings peace. Giving thanks gives us healing and encouragement. Why, you ask? Well... When we intentionally take our mind off our own circumstances and instead place it on God and the gifts He's given us, everything changes. There is amazing power in praising and thanking God for the little things, big things, good things, and even the hard things in our lives. The Bible commands us to give thanks always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. This is God's will for us! When we choose to give thanks in our circumstances, our mindset changes. All of the sudden we shift from only thinking of ourselves and our situations, to instead thinking of Him and how great He is. And once we put our focus and praise on Him, we can't help but notice the change that He is doing in us. The overflow of gratitude is joy.
In the One Word One Year Faith Journey book, readers are challenged to write down at least 3 gratitude entries everyday in the Give Thanks Challenge. Numbered lines and spaces are provided every month throughout the book. Do you know what happens at the end of the year if this practice is kept up? 1008 gratitudes will be recorded! Yep, over one thousand handwritten notes of thanks to God will be on record. Imagine looking back through those entries and seeing God's provisions, answered prayers and special gifts He showed you throughout the year. The very act of giving thanks to Him and writing it down confirms and provides proof that He is good and faithful, and He loves us. Is 3 gratitudes a day a magic number? No. In fact, I always suggest writing down as many as you can think of. When you can't think of anymore, close the book and go about your day looking for more things to thank Him for. Let this gratitude mindset take hold of your thoughts all day long. Open your eyes and ask Him to show you all the little gifts right in front of you. Ask Him to give you the vision you need to praise Him in all things. And as you practice this shift in your thinking you'll notice a change in your heart, mind and spirit.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Give Thanks Challenge -Is it OK to thank Him for the same things everyday? Yes, of course. I can't even tell you how many times I have recorded sunshine, good health and good sleep...but don't just get in a rut. Challenge yourself to find new things everyday. -What happens if I fill up all the spaces for the month? Keep on going! Continue to the next month and fill in the spaces. If you complete the entire Give Thanks Challenge of 1008 entries in a year--congrats! But don't stop! Grab a lined notebook and keep going. Last year I recorded almost 3000! -How do I thank Him for the bad days and the not good things...I have nothing to write. Pray. Ask God to show you how to thank Him. Thank Him that you are still alive and that He still has a purpose for you. Thank Him that you made it through the day. Thank Him that tomorrow is a new day. Thank Him in advance for the work He will do on your behalf. Thank Him that He loves you and will never leave you. Thank Him for who He is...a mighty God that has the power to take care of anything and everything that concerns you. -Why do I have to write gratitudes down? Why can't I just thank Him throughout the day? You don't HAVE to write gratitude entries, but you're missing out on the solid proof of who God is. By documenting God's gifts to yourself on paper, you can see at a glance who God is. You have proof that God is good and that He cares for you. You have solid spiritual markers of your faith, proving that God exists and that He loves you and cares for you. When you're having a day filled with doubt, you have immediate access to a running record of God's provisions for you. Don't miss out on this! (Tip: write the date next to each gratitude. This allows you to go back and re-read your entries like a mini journal.)
AND...YES! Continue to thank Him throughout the day! That's the whole point. Write down some gratitudes in your book and then continue to thank Him all day long. You can do this! So, take on this Give Thanks Challenge this year and watch what happens. I'm betting that once your start, you won't be able to stop. Our God is so good, we just can't help ourselves from praising Him more and more. To God be the glory!