The month of November is the month we share our gratitude for the good in our lives; especially what brought that good to us – the Lord, family, friends, that one opportunity. In this season it’s all but impssoble to forget that we ought to be grateful. Reminders pop out everywhere, all season long.
But sometimes its hard to remember that we are to live each day full of gratefulness. And it can be even more difficult to remember to express that gratitude amidst the sea of life’s complications.
Life gives us as many tough days as good days. And there are days where the challenges and tougher aspects of life can blur our ability to recognize the good. The truth is, it is hard to be happy and grateful when you are facing so much sadness and discouragement. And while it is hard to run when you are weighted down with cares of the world on your shoulders, I am choosing to focus my perspective on the good.
With that in mind I will focus my season of 30 days of thankfulness with these 30 thoughts. I will think on these thoughts when my sight begins to shift. These are what has brought me to where I am, what has shaped my life. While in the moment they were far from easy, the lessons I learned through them have greatly improved my life.
1. I am thankful for the times that I have been hungry. Because of them I never assume the pantry will be full.
2. I am thankful for the times I have been cold. Because of them I will never fail to appreciate the fuel in my tank and the heat that comes through those vents.
3. I am thankful for the people who laughed at me. They helped me not to take myself too serious.
4. I am thankful for the people who have criticized me. They help me to really be sure of the things I do.
5. I am thankful for the people who have bested me in the competitions. They made me realize that winning is done before the game in the preparation.
6. I am thankful for the employers who did not pay me enough to live. They made me reach for better so that I could provide for my family.
7. I am thankful for those who used me and worked me hard and sent me away with only a thank you. It is because of them that I learned that my livelihood was not based on the kindness and the goodness of men but on God.
8. I am thankful for those who forsook me and left me alone. They helped me to understand that no one should be left alone and to stay as long as I can with a friend.
9. I am thankful for the leaders who ignored me. They helped me to understand that everyone has value and possibilities. Invest a moment in someone who looks insignificant and the significance will be revealed.
10. I am thankful for those who would not give me the time of day. Through them, I learned that if people were too big to help they were too small to look up to.
11. I am thankful for the automobile breaking down. That taught me the value of maintaining the things I depend on.
12. I am thankful for unanswered prayers. If God would have answered most of my prayers as I asked, I would be in a mess today.
13. I am thankful for the times my family was angry with me for something I did or did not do. I learned the value of family and that I was most often acting selfish.
14. I am thankful for the people who cheated me in some of the deals we made. They taught me to always be sure of any negotiations and never assume.
15. I am thankful for the people who fell asleep during one of my sermons. They taught me to prepare so that I was interesting even to uninterested people.
16. I am thankful for the bullies in my life. They taught me that the pain of the punches were not as bad as the pain of not taking them.
17. I am thankful for the people who tried to push me out of places I was serving. They taught me that I was not serving them, but serving the Lord. Since I am serving Him – He never pushes, He always leads.
18. I am thankful for the financial bills that have come due when I did not have the funds to cover them. That taught me to plan and pray so that either I did not put myself in that position and that I could trust God while I was there.
19. I am thankful for the pastor who scoffed at the idea of me being a full time pastor. He made me really feel the humility needed to depend on The Lord and not my own ability.
20. I am thankful for the leaders who scolded me for some of the things I did wrong when I was doing my best. They taught me to be sure, to check and to work toward excellence in everything I do.
21. I am thankful for the folks who quit talking to me or associating with me after I left some of the positions I have held. They taught me that real friendships are not indicated by those close to you at the top of life’s mountains but those walking with you its valleys.
22. I am thankful for the diagnosis of cancer. It taught me more than a few things, but not the least of which is the value of life. It taught me to appreciate every day you can be with your family and friends.
23. I am thankful for the times I have been alone and faced loneliness. Those moments taught me that loneliness and aloneness are not the same; that when I am by myself it is a special time for me to connect with my Creator, Savior, and King
24. I am thankful for the times I failed miserably when I spoke. I learned that without the Lord’s help there was no reason for me to be on the stage.
25. I am thankful for the leaders who let me down. Their failures taught me that even those you look up to are just men. Some of them were not even good men, which has made me realize all the better to be a man first and a leader afterward.
26. I am thankful that all my friends will never be friends with each other. That has taught me that it is okay to love people who are different from one another. They also taught me that being true to yourself is not being just like anyone else.
27. I am thankful for those who were jealous of my achievements and intentionally or unintentionally tried to disparage me. They taught me to be poised, quiet and diplomatic; that who I was would not be determined by others feeling about me, but my own actions and reactions.
28. I am thankful for those who have questioned my integrity. They have made me question my own integrity to see if I was made of the right things and living the right way. Testing your life is better than failing in life!
29. I am thankful for those who have looked down on me and have let me down in life. Their actions taught me to look higher than people and how to wait on Christ to lift me up.
30. I am thankful that all the mistakes, miscues and misgivings of life did not sour me or destroy me. I know that everything mixed together both good and bad to make the final product. I was not made for my own ends but for Christ and then to be given back to others in His service. So, I am thankful for these experiences that have bought wisdom. I hope I am wise enough to not forget the lessons of yesterday’s mistakes, and able to deal the the rest that I will make along the way.
1 Thes 5:18 *give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.