A couple hours before sunrise, and not long enough after bedtime, my alarm went off. My apartment had a late autumn chill and cold rain was pelting the window. My attempt at a quick, hot breakfast was thwarted by my oatmeal overflowing in the microwave. And to top it off, I missed the light on the way to work and had to wait through the 3 minute light cycle (a significant addition to my 10 minute commute).
When I have a morning like this, I can react in two different ways. I can grumble and complain and let the bumps in the morning routine ruin my day or I can choose an attitude of thankfulness.
When my alarm goes off, instead of “Ughh! I don’t want to get up!”, I could think, “Thank You for a clock that wakes me up, enabling me to arrive at work on time.”
When it’s cold outside of the covers, instead of moaning and diving deeper under them, I could be thankful for the cool air to wake me up and a hot shower to jump into.
When it’s windy and rainy outside, instead of grumbling about the weather, I could thank God for the soothing sound of the rain on the roof and the water for the corn crop.
When my oatmeal overflows in the microwave, instead of begrudgingly cleaning it up, I could thank God for an abundance of food and a microwave to quickly cook it in.
When I have to wait through the long red light on the drive to work, instead of watching the clock impatiently, I could take a moment to thank God for an enforced pause to spend with Him.
Perhaps you’ve had mornings like this where nothing seemed to go right. Especially on that kind of morning, I challenge you to choose a mindset of thanksgiving. At first, this mindset requires a conscious effort, just like memorizing the multiplication tables in grade school took focused effort.
I’d guess you can still rattle off the 2’s Table pretty easily. That effort from years ago paid off, ingraining the numbers in your mind. If we put in the effort now, gratitude to God can become the habit of our hearts. But be warned, just as you can forget your multiplication table (the 7’s might not be as easy as the 2’s these days!) if you don’t practice it, you can forget. Thankfulness needs to be consistently practiced in our lives to create and maintain the habit.
But why do we need to have an “attitude of gratitude,” as we often hear near this Thanksgiving holiday?
Thanksgiving is a response of worship to God. Last month, my small group conducted a study of the words Thanks and Thanksgiving in the Bible. Based on verses that we found, we answered the five W’s. Our Why and For What columns quickly outpaced the other questions as we found verse after verse giving thanks for attributes of God. Here’s a sampling of the list of attributes we found:
- His steadfast love (Psalm 107:1)
- His help (Psalm 30:2)
- His strength and shield (Psalm 28:7)
- His answers to prayer (Ephesians 4:6)
- His slowness to anger and His mercy (Exodus 34:6)
When we see the character and care of God, our hearts should long to praise Him. Because of the mercy of God in granting us forgiveness and redemption through faith in Christ, our response should be to worship Him with thanksgiving. This focus on God enables us to have joy throughout the day, even when the oatmeal overflows.
How are you going to incorporate a heart of thanksgiving into your days? Praising God is not just for the holiday we celebrate on Thursday, it’s for every day. It’s for every circumstance. It’s for every morning, starting when the alarm goes off.