Recently, I took on a challenge to list three things that I am thankful for every day. Write it down, or think about it, and it will change your life, so I’ve been told.

I looked it up, and there it was. Forbes Magazine echoed the thoughts of many researchers. They say gratitude will improve our health, our mindset, and we will have more empathy and mental strength. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships and thankful people sleep better.

Now I consider myself a thankful person, so is this really for me? Those were my first thoughts before I started practicing intentional gratitude each day. I began to look around, and it is amazing to see all of the things I take for granted every day. We all have the big things in which we are grateful, but look around, there are so many more blessings that I’d never even praised God for one time.

Sometimes I am prone to point out the things that are going wrong in my life. If I have a pounding headache, that’s where I focus. I don’t’ feel like doing this or that because I didn’t sleep well last night. At other times I let a minor conflict consume my time. I play it over in my mind and think of a variety of scenarios wishing the situation had turned out differently.

I’ll admit things are changing. When I begin to focus on the negative, I redirect my thoughts. Lately I have been admiring God’s handiwork whether it’s the fall foliage or the beautiful blue sky. I am so thankful for a pair of sunglasses on a sunny day, and an odometer is a precious instrument to keep me from speeding. I’m no longer focusing on what is wrong, but I am focusing on what is oh so right.

Scripture tells us to be thankful as well. Ephesians 5:20b says, “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Look around. All of the good things happening in our lives are not by chance according to James 1:17. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.”

Let us take notice on the newest blessings that come our way each day. Psalm 68:19 reminds us, “Blessed be the name of the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits.” We will have traveling mercies and strength for the day, and that’s just the start. We will feel the warmth of our home when we get up in the morning, and realize how blessed we are to sit down to three meals a day.

I challenge each of you to be intentionally grateful. There’s a tree with gorgeous leaves, or a hot cup of coffee, or you hear the pitter patter of little feet. You will see a difference in a matter of days; in 21 days it will be a habit. This is more than being grateful in November, my prayer is that it will change our lives forever!

Sherry Lewis of Maysville is pastor at New Beginnings Ministry. She can be reached at bcn-scoop@aol.com.

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