©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

On Thanksgiving, most Americans will get full on a feast of food. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and that infamous green bean casserole are some of the favorites that will fill plates and stomachs. Pumpkin, apple and cherry pies will decorate tables and delight dessert-lovers.

But, how Thank-FULL are we? My motto “Life is Better when it’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full™” encourages us to pursue a FULL life. Gratitude is a core aspect of that.

Here are a few tips that can help us be full of thanksgiving all year long:

Look for Good

Odds are that right now we could each mention at least five negative things we’ve heard in the news or from another person this week. Accusations. Aberrations. Exploitations. It’s enough to make someone want to go into hibernation! That, of course, isn’t the answer. Instead, we need to actively look for what is good and for what we can be grateful.

The kindness of a stranger. The car accident narrowly missed. The beauty of a multi-colored sunset.

A letter or call from a friend. A health issue improved or healed. A quiet dinner with a special someone.

The freedoms we have in our country.

We may not see what we do not seek. We will not find what fails to get our focus. Gratitude is hard to get to without the right attitude.

Log it Daily

About five years ago, my friend Malissa began sharing her nightly “Thankful” list to God with another friend. Now she and four other women exchange via email specific blessings they encounter that day. Amazingly, today she could look back on more than 1800 days, see more than 5,000 notations of things for which she was grateful, and remember the faithfulness of God in her life and the beauty in our world. The opportunity to rejoice with her friends about what they find to be grateful for is an added benefit.

Another friend of mine is identifying at least one definite thing to be thankful for every day, and she says that gratitude is impacting her life and health in a positive way.

Maybe you’re not a list-maker and keeping track of one more thing is enough to send you into stress overdrive. Most of us send hundreds of emails or texts weekly. Don’t we have time to somehow identify the good in that day? To take time to be thankful?

Keep it simple. Note it in a draft email to yourself. Jot a quick line in a journal. Put it on your daily calendar. Add it to a running list on your computer. Write out a prayer.

When we identify particular occurrences and observations to put on our personal gratitude lists, be they written, voiced, or prayed, the action heightens our awareness of the many positive experiences we have daily.

Lift Others

Lively conversations around dinner tables at Thanksgiving will bring families together – and, unfortunately, in our fractious society, could pull some apart until non-controversial topics emerge. Why not focus part of the discussion on what makes us grateful?

We can encourage others by sharing something that we’re grateful for in them. Our comments may impact their emotional well-being, but we can also “lift” them up in prayer thanking God for their presence in our lives. And, when families and friends unite to pray together that creates its own connection and bond.

“Like” it or “Love” it with God

Social media gives us the chance to give a thumbs up, a smile or a heart to photos and comments we appreciate. Prayer gives us the chance to “Like” or “Love” something with God by thanking Him and praising Him for the small gifts of wonder we encounter as well as the major blessings.

Tell God what you’ve ‘Liked” or “Loved” about today and say “Thanks.” Even the Creator of the Universe loves conversation and gratitude. It’s no surprise since He created us with a desire to communicate and to appreciate.

Of course, God wants us to discover Him not only in the things we gain, or the experiences we find but through a relationship with Him. The love, peace and mercy He gives is, in itself, worthy of our deepest gratitude.

Will God be at your dinner table for Thanksgiving?

Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:3-5

  • What happened to you this week that makes you specifically grateful to God?
  • What keeps you from being thankful daily?
  • What steps can you take to increase your gratitude attitude?

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Psalm 95:1-2

Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™ https://joydunlap.com

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