Practicing Thankfulness

In my Bible reading this morning, Moses is talking to the Israelites about Passover, Feast of Weeks, and Feast of the Tabernacles. Several times he mentions that they must give a "freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you." What an interesting statement. It jumped out at me the first time I read it, but then I continued reading in the passage and he says it again..."Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you" (Deuteronomy 16:17). This verse has got me thinking this afternoon, wondering how bad am I at keeping track of or being really aware of the blessings God has given me?

The last time I got together with my old bible study group, we talked about the positive impact practicing thankfulness or positive thinking can have on your outlook on life. When I was in college, I took a one credit, once a week course called Positive Psychology. The purpose of the class was to explore the effect of thinking positively. It was a really interesting, laid back class. One of the assignments for the week was to, for every day of the week, write down 25 positive things that happened that day. It could be anything. "The sun is shining." "I had lucky charms for breakfast." Anything that you viewed as positive. The purpose was to help us think about all the positive things that filled each day- emphasizing that although we sometimes find it hard to believe, there is much positive in each of our daily lives. If I remember correctly, the professor who taught the class had written a book or done a big study about Positive Psychology and the class was an experiment because it was the first time he had studied it in class-format. I honestly don't remember what the goal of the class was, or what projects we had to do or anything like that, other than the overall emphasis on the idea that thinking positively can in fact positively affect you. Go figure. Sounds so simple.

But I remember LOVING that class, and LOVING those activities that we had to do because it really made me appreciate the little things that God had been blessing me with throughout each day. Maybe I appreciated it a little more as a believer because I was able to use it almost as a journal/prayer time where I took the opportunity to really thank God for even the little things he blessed me with? I don't know. Either way, it was a good experience.

With all of that said, going back to my bible study get-together... most of us decided that we too wanted to join the others in thinking more positively, being proactive about being thankful basically. The verses that I read this morning really convicted me of the fact that I have not been very good at this lately. Think about the verse. It says, "Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you." I think that verse is incredibly convicting because it makes me ask myself the question, have I been aware of all the blessings God has given me, taken good note of them, been thankful for them- kept track of them enough to know what kind of goodwill offering would be in proportion? Maybe I am reading into the verse too much, and maybe he didn't mean literally bring a gift that matches in one way or another the blessings you have been given. But regardless, I know that I need to be way more aware and way more thankful for the daily blessings that the Lord has given me. Sometimes I realize that I have not expressed thanks for what He has given me and I become ashamed because it's such a selfish, human thing to do. We are blessed in SO many ways. I am in a really good place in life- I have food on the table, I have a warm home, a loving family, and friends. And this just scratches the surface of what I have to be thankful for. Perhaps it's about time I got out a notebook and went back to the daily assignment I had from Positive Psychology. I know that there are definitely so many blessings to be thankful for.