This week we celebrate Thanksgiving day here in the United States. I love Thanksgiving! In fact, I love both the day and the act of giving thanks! In the fall of 2009, I began keeping a gratitude journal. Each day since I began I try to write down at least three things I am thankful for. It has been life-changing for me. To me, there is no greater tool against hopelessness than thanksgiving and praise. Gratitude journaling has helped me to see God's daily faithfulness in my life, even through the difficult things that I've experienced in the past seven years.
Some days, as I write in my gratitude journal I don't "feel" thankful. You've heard it said that love is more than an emotion, it's a choice. We choose to love even when our emotions don't feel loving. The same is true for thanksgiving. We choose to give thanks and to praise God even when we don't feel an accompanying emotion. When we choose to do loving actions, the emotion of love follows. Likewise, when we choose to give thanks even if we don't feel anything, the feeling of gratitude and the desire to praise will often follow.
When I think about choosing to give thanks, I am reminded of my husband telling me about an experience he had on his last visit to Ghana, West Africa. He said that every morning he would be awakened by the sound of a woman singing praises to God. (Join me for the rest of this post on Sunday, November 20th, at Woman to Woman Ministries where each Sunday I share a bit of Sunday Soul Food!)