This post has been a long time coming. I promise I had not intended to wait this long to post again, but with holiday travel preparations, work, family obligations, et cetera, I simply did not have adequate time to put the words floating around in my head to print.

I have been participating in 30 Days of Thanks on my Facebook page. A few of my friends on there have been, too, and I get a kick out of seeing what everyone’s “thing” is going to be for the day.  The point of it is to be a happier person overall by adopting an attitude of gratefulness. Even though I dutifully followed it every day, I found myself treating it as a daily task to be completed, rather than a cumulative attitude adjustment.

It occurred to me almost two weeks ago, when I woke up way before my alarm for a bathroom break, and returned to my bed to find my son wide awake in the bed grinning his little gums off.  In that moment I felt filled with gratitude in a way I hadn’t yet felt since the month started.  I didn’t focus on the fact that I still had an hour and a half of sleep still due me. I didn’t concern myself with what the ramifications of what him being awake that early would mean for the day’s preparations.  All I thought about was how blessed I was to have him, and to know that at least in that moment, someone thought I hung the moon and stars.

Different things and people began to minister to me on thankfulness over the coming days.  Joyce Meyer’s daily devotional the next day talked about contentment and being grateful for what you have even as you continue to pray for desires to be fulfilled.  I continued participating in 30 Days of Thanks and really tried to let the spirit of thankfulness fill me.  There were, admittedly, days that I struggled.  On the days when I couldn’t get hubby to move fast enough for my liking, I had to remind myself to be thankful I had a husband who is a good man, albeit a habitually tardy one.  In the moments when my rambunctious preschooler wheedled herself into that raw, throbbing area where my very last nerve had long worn off, I had to remind myself to be grateful she was healthy and smart and still thought I was “the best mommy in the whole world”.

In spite of a few spirit-testing hiccups here and there, I continued to be moved by the benefits of thankfulness.  Just yesterday in church the pastor preached on gratefulness and thankfulness, and how happiness and restoration come from gratitude even before the blessing comes. I could nod in agreement, not because the words made sense and seemed truthful, but because I was living it.  In my life I have found that I’m happiest when I’m anticipating a blessing.  When I am thanking God “in advance” so to speak, I am resting on faith that whatever it is I seek will be delivered.  I don’t have to stress over something I know is coming.

Being thankful for what I already have is balm to my spirit as well.  In my weight loss journey, for instance, I’ve been working so hard to get to a certain number. On the bathroom scale, on the tag in my jeans, on the BMI index, it doesn’t matter; there are numbers I have my sights set on.  I am content, though, knowing that each day I’m getting closer to those numbers through the hard work I’ve committed to every day and the support of my family.  I can see it as the numbers steadily decrease on the bathroom scale and as jeans and dress start to fit more loosely.  I thank God for the progress I’ve made, and that gratitude propels me to make further progress.

So as the month of November wraps up and everyone switches gears from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I pray that the spirit of thankfulness lives on in me and in my loved ones. Its benefits are too many to be confined to 30 days.