My Favorite Day of the Year
The fourth Thursday in November is my favorite day of the year. It’s so wonderful. A day off from work. A brisk morning walk on the trail through the leaves with the dog. The Thanksgiving meal: turkey, cranberries, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. It’s all so good. A nap. Some football. A little Monopoly and Clue. And if we are really on top of things: getting a few of the Christmas decorations out.
Thanksgiving is a day, and November is a month, for us to pause and give thanks. To God. To each other. But what if gratitude was lived out daily? Well, things would be much different.
- Your relationships will improve.
Taking somebody for granted will diminish and eventually destroy any relationship. Complaining and criticizing will do the same thing. Practicing gratitude will have the opposite effect. Being grateful for somebody doesn’t mean we think somebody is better than they actually are. Being grateful is fully appreciating another for who they are and who they are not. It is not expecting perfection, but valuing them for their efforts.
- You won’t be as envious or jealous.
It’s not possible to simultaneously be grateful and envious or jealous. Envy and jealousy focus on what we do not have: the right car or job or house or relationship or whatever. Envy and jealousy are self-destructive behaviors that lament scarcity. Gratitude celebrates abundance. Envy and jealousy encourage social comparison which will wear you out and tear you down. Gratitude fosters community and collaboration which will inspire you and build you up.
- You will be happier.
Grateful people celebrate that all their needs are provided for and most of their wants are met. Contentment is a stranger to those who continue to want in great excess of what they currently have. Chasing satisfaction by always wanting newer and bigger and better is like running a marathon with a finish line that moves in the same direction at the same pace as the runner. Kierkegaaard said, “Many of us pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that we hurry past it.” He is right, of course. Gratitude allows us to enjoy the journey. Gratitude allows us to live in the moment. Gratitude values the grace of simplicity and peace over the stress and anxiety and busyness caused by racing toward the finish line we will never cross.
An Amazing Thing About Gratitude
The coolest thing about gratitude is that it’s a choice. It’s yours for the taking. You’ll get to trade-in envy, jealousy, anxiety, and stress for greater things: contentment, the ability to enjoy the moment, better relationships, and happiness. So be grateful for and express gratitude to God. Be grateful for and express gratitude to others. Make a list. Keep adding to it. Enjoy how blessed you are! Say “thank you” often. Find pleasure in the moment. Choose gratitude.