I Choose to Give Thanks

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of GodPsalm 50:23

I felt unappreciated, unloved, and unworthy to call myself a Christian.

Jesus exuded a joyful confidence no matter what happened in his life. He lived each day in joyful obedience to the Father. The kind of life, he promised to his followers: “I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness” (John 10:10). But where was the joy in my life? Defeat and depression clung to me. It probably would never change. After all, I was by nature a melancholic. The experts said so.

One day as I was scrubbing the kitchen floor, oblivious to the small radio beaming its songs and messages, my tears mingled with the soapy water. I felt like such a failure. Suddenly a woman’s voice on the radio arrested me. “Are you living on Grumble Street?”she asked. “You’re complaining about all the things that are wrong in your life. Stop it. Move over to Praise Street and begin to thank God for all the things that are right in your life. Offer Him the sacrifice of praise.”

I sat up. If God had spoken my name out loud, it couldn’t have been more suited to my need. Then there is something I can do? I thought. I can choose thanksgiving even when I don’t feel like it. That’s why it’s called a sacrifice? I grabbed a pen and paper and began to write down some blessings:

Thank you, God, that I can scrub a kitchen floor: I have a home.
Thank you, God, for family; they’ll soon be home for supper.
Thank you, God, for the friendly neighbor who just waved at me.
Thank you, God, for how the wind plays in the branches of the tree.
Thank you, God, for how the afternoon sunshine lights up the bush

Saying “thank you, God” out loud, felt a bit strange at first, still it was the beginning of forming a new habit, the habit to focus on the blessing of the present moment.  For was each blessing not a tangible “I-love-you” message from God himself?

I discovered that emotions are followers. They follow our thinking. As I continued to focus on the blessing of the present moment, my emotions caught on to the new “me”. Not a grumbling me but a joyful me.

My children also began to notice. “Mom, you find pleasure in the weirdest things,” my daughter laughed, “like a spider web.” Yes, indeed! For when I sing his praises, God is very near.

Dear Father, I want to offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving every day and prepare the way for your blessing to flood my heart and soul and overflow into my family.

by Helen Lescheid

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