I heard an evangelist once say that if we want to develop an authentic attitude of gratitude, we need to give thanks until we become thanks. It seemed an awkward but compelling statement. Thanksgiving is something we do – an action, emotion, or holiday to celebrate – not something we are.
But what would it look like if you saw yourself as a vessel of thanksgiving?
Can you envision it?
What would you feel like if praise and thanksgiving were the very essence of your being?
How would it impact your inner dialogue and the way you speak into the world?
What if you instinctively and consistently gave thanks until you became thanks?
Would friends and family even recognize you?
Perhaps the very notion doesn’t hold much appeal for you. But consider this: what if you only woke each day to those things you thanked God for the day before? I hope it would cause you to be more intentional and conscious of the world around you? It’s certainly a physiological capability that God created in you as you were fearfully and wonderfully made.
There’s an area of your brain called the reticular activating system that has the job of filtering information from your environment into your conscious awareness. There’s simply too much information assaulting your brain through your senses at every second, so this system must decide what information gets in and what gets blocked out. It filters in two types of information: threat or danger and information that’s important or significant to you.
So, when you set a goal or declare a new significance, the reticular activating system begins to open your awareness to complimentary information that’s right there in your environment. You wouldn’t have seen it before because it wasn’t necessarily important to you before. It’s what happens when you buy a new car and then suddenly see that same car – even the same color – everywhere you go!
If you declare increased gratitude and thanksgiving as an important goal for you, watch as your reticular activating system opens your awareness to goodness and previously unrecognized acts of kindness that cross your path each day. Begin a journal to record and reread the day’s blessings. Not only will you be amazed and encouraged, but it will help reinforce a habit of looking for what’s right in the world and other people, creating a positive, constructive, abundance mindset. Search out and meditate on the scriptures that speak of praise, thanksgiving, goodness, and blessings. Do these simple acts each day, and watch as you naturally become thanks from the inside out.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. – Psalm 100:4
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for humankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. – Psalm 107:8-9