Ever wake up and just want to roll back over? Being thankful seems like the last thing on your mind when you’re lying sick in bed or overwhelmed by the circumstances of life.
But that’s exactly when we need to be thankful.
The apostle James told us, “when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (James 1:2-3 NLT).
If you quoted that verse to me while I’m lying in bed feeling groggy or sorry for myself, I would probably not receive it very well. So, I’d like to equip both of us for the days when this happens.
By the way, I wrote a similar article about this on calledtoworship.org.
Top Ten Reasons to be Thankful (even if you don’t feel like it)
I used to love watching the David Letterman Show, if only for the Top 10 Lists. Let’s use that method to help us generate our own Top Ten Reasons to be Thankful.
#10: Thankful to be alive
All of us have been spared from accidental death. Some of those stories linger with us. I shared one of mine on Day 17 of this challenge. On your Top 10 list write down one time you remember where God spared your life in a miraculous or obvious way. If you can’t remember one, ask your parents. I’m sure there’s a juicy story waiting for you.
Example: I’m thankful God saved me from dying from HAPES in 1983 so that I could become a husband, father, and leader.
#9: Thankful for salvation
We’ve reviewed a few reasons to be thankful for the gospel on day 7. For your top ten list, write down one thing God saved you from.
Example: I’m grateful God saved me from addictions that would have led to almost certain destruction.
#8: Grateful for mentors
On day 13 we discussed the powerful role mentors play in our lives. Today, reflect on one specific mentor and write down a reason you’re thankful for him or her.
Example: I’m thankful for Doug Pratt who believed in my creative skills, my potential speaking skills, and for calling me to “get off the bench.”
#7: Appreciation for parents
No matter what you’re relationship is like with your parents, you can find valuable ways they’ve impacted your life. Ignoring the negative ways they’ve shaped you, find one positive impact your parents have had and put it on your top ten list.
Example: My parents believed in me and gave me countless opportunities to learn, explore, and discover my unique gifts and skills. I’m grateful for this.
#6: Thankful for work
If you’re currently unemployed or underemployed, remember times when God has provided meaningful work. If you’re in your dream job, give thanks for that.
Example: I remember thankfully how God provided the job at Harbor at just the right time and the miraculous way that Social Media Examiner became part of my story.
#5: Thankful for friends
Proverbs 18:24 says, “a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” It’s a treasure to find a few good friends who will stick with you through the peaks and valleys of life. Write down the name(s) of one or more friends who’ve been with you for the long haul.
Example: I’m grateful for friends like John, Dave, Mark, and Cary who have stood with me for decades.
#4: Thankful for daily bread
It’s easy to take for granted things we live with every day like our house, cars, clothes, and food. Using the list you made on day 12 of this challenge, write down a few things you can be thankful for every day.
Example: I’m thankful to have more than enough food, clothes, and shoes.
#3: Thankful for God’s word
I love using the YouVersion Bible app because I have access to 2,062 Bible versions in 1,372 languages for free. Five hundred years ago the average person didn’t have the ability to read God’s word in any language. Now the vast majority of people on earth have access to God’s word in their own language and translators work diligently to bring it to the remaining ethnic groups.
Example: I’m grateful to be able to daily read God’s word in the translations of my choosing.
#2: Thankful for the Holy Spirit
John 14:26 says, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (ESV).
Example: I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit who reminds me of truth, corrects me, counsels me, and comforts me.
#1: Thankful that God delights in how he made me
Sometimes I wish God made me more like someone else. That’s when I need to remember what David reflected in Psalm 139:14: “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”
Example: I know you don’t make mistakes, God, so I’m thankful that you made me just the way you planned.
Using these ten prompts create your own top ten list and then put it somewhere you can quickly pull out when you need a reminder.
Lord, you’ve given me dozens of reasons to be thankful every day. Forgive me for focusing more on my feelings and problems. Teach me to live more gratefully. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.