An exercise in thankfulness

I get that every day should be a ‘Thanksgiving Day’, but I like having a day set apart.  

Thanksgiving interrupts my rhythms and reminds me to think about the discipline of thankfulness.  Check out this Nouwen quote: 

“I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as  discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with you.”

I’m spending some time today saying thank you to God, but I am also praying through how to do it in such a way that it helps set my heart on the Giver and not the gifts.

To that end, I created…wait for it…. “fabs’ grid of thankfulness.”  (Guys.  I’m crazy.)

I wanted to thank God for two main things: (1) the ways He has shown His goodness to me this year through His gifts,  and (2) the ways He has caused me to long for Him more by revealing to me that His gifts are insufficient.

I categorized my gifts into three sections: (1) what God has done in me, (2) who He has given me, and (3) what circumstances He has brought into my life.

(Yes. That’s right. I categorized my gifts. Deal with it.).

If you’re into charts, check out this visual of my little grid of thankfulness (woo-hoo!).

(PLEASE NOTE: If you’re not a charts sort of person, skip below to the questions.  If you look too long at the chart you’ll likely be all distracted by how non-organic and non-spiritual this all feels. And by how big a dork I actually am…)

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Here are some questions to pray through:

How is God working in you this year?

How have you grown?

  • Name 1 or 2 ways you look more like Him.
  • Spend some time thinking about those parts of His character
  • Thank Him for the ways you treasure those parts of Him even more now.

What are some areas you want to grow in? 

  • Name 1 or 2 weaknesses God has revealed in you this year
  • Spend some time thinking about how God is strong where you are weak
  • Thank Him for the ways He is stronger and better than you and for His great grace.

Who has God given you this year?

How have you seen God more clearly through their strengths?

  • Name 1-2 ways each of them remind you of Him
  • Spend some time meditating on those parts of His character
  • Thank Him for the ways He has taught your how good those parts of Him really are through them

How is Jesus better than them?

  • Name 1-2 ways Jesus is better even then your favorite person
  • Spend some time thanking Him for all the ways His grace and love and goodness exceeds theirs exponentially.

What has God done in your life this year?

How have you seen the goodness of God through your circumstances?

  • Think of 1-2 new situations in your life this year
  • What have you learned about God through those situations?
  • Thank Him for revealing His character to you through them.

How do your circumstances lead you to long for Heaven?

  • Think of 1 hard circumstance and think of 1 sweet circumstance
  • How do both of these situations pale in comparison to the joy set before you at the end of this race?
  • Thank God for the eternal weight of glory that waits for His kids.


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