Here I sit, typing at our new laptop that we purchased last night for our big Black Friday (Black Thursday?) gift to ourselves. We have been without a laptop for about two years, thanks to the gift of kids. The laptop would come and go so we would hold out and hope for a good day any time we absolutely needed to use the computer. (See: cheap.) Alas, we finally surrendered to the inevitable fact that we needed a new one. The hubs will complain nonstop about how appalled he is that Black Friday actually begins on Thursday nowadays. He is not one to pass up a good deal though, so Black Friday shopping last night is where we found ourselves. Of course, we never turn away from a challenge so we went with our hooligans in tow, plus our niece. We were in. We were out. We made it out alive and in time to watch our recorded episode of This Is Us.
On to my real reason for the blog today: since August we have been doing a study of gratitude in our monthly ladies bible study. I love Thanksgiving. I feel that it’s a more relaxed holiday. You aren’t stressing about gift purchasing, making sure you got everything equal for everyone, trying to figure out where all the money is going to come from, trying to figure out where all the money went, etc. I loved randomly getting online yesterday and seeing every one slow down and just enjoy some time with friends and/or family. Some people take to playing together outside, some take a nap, some go shopping together. The important thing isn’t necessarily what you’re doing, just that you’re doing it with those you care about.
Okay, now REALLY to my main point. Gratitude shouldn’t be something we exhibit just one a day in the year. (And some of us have trouble doing it just that one day as it is.) Gratitude should be the state of our heart. I’m going to go out in a limb and say a lot of our struggles begin with a little bout of ingratitude. When we become so focused on what others are doing, what they have, how they look, how much money they make, we aren’t taking the time to be grateful for what we have been blessed with. When caught in the trap of constantly comparing or wanting more, it’s almost impossible to be grateful for what is in front of you.
Friends, this isn’t new. Genesis 3 tells us of a man and woman who had everything supplied to them. They were leaving in a seemingly perfect and idyllic place. They were living in a place of absolutely beauty and contentment. God had told them they could eat of all trees in the garden but one. Naturally, they wanted that one tree that they were told not to eat from. Rather than being grateful for all they had been given, they were discontent because they wanted the one they were told they could not have. Ingratitude led to the original sin. This ingratitude led to the fall of mankind.
Ingratitude and ungratefulness are mentioned several times throughout the Bible. Repetition in the Bible is kind of like God’s exclamation marks. It shows us that it is important to God. If it’s important to God, of course, it should be important to us. I hope you enjoyed the time you had to slow down with those you love. I also hope the act of being grateful is something you do more than just one day a year. I also want to suggest if you have trouble thinking of things to be grateful for off the top of your head (we all go through hard seasons), start writing a few things down a day. It’s amazing the change of attitude or mindset that occurs when we are intentional in our thinking.
Mary Mohler says it best in her book Growing In Gratitude: “We are to be like a fountain that is continually filled to overflowing. We are not only to exhibit gratitude but we are to overflow with it, such that it spills out into all that we do.”