Friday, November 14, 2008

Take the Challenge

An old friend of mine, Kati, from my Marietta Baptist Camp days posted this on her blog and I took the challenge. Will you take the challenge with me?
In a few days, we will be stuffing ourselves with turkey, dressing, and pecan pie. Every year I tell myself . . . "Next year I am going to make a list of the things that I am thankful for." Every year I wonder why I didn't make a list of things to thank God for blessing me with. Perhaps it is because I am afraid that I will leave something out. Or maybe, I don't create a list because I am embarrassed of the things that I am thankful for (dark chocolate would definitely be on the list). Most likely, I resist making a list of things that I am thankful for because it would take away many of my reasons to do one of the most natural human things . . . complain!

Do you ever find yourself complaining about the economy, gas prices, the OTHER political party, grocery prices . . . the list can go on and on until it gets personal. Oh, yes, we seem to complain about our spouses, the kids, being too busy, being bored, and my favorite choice of complaint, being tired! The list goes on and on. And yet, I am more blessed than I ever deserve. It is only by the undeserving mercy of Christ that I have the things that I do and that I have the opportunity to enjoy the simplest things in life, including dark chocolate.

God's Word tells us this:

"But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been greed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." ~Romans 6:17-18

"Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods." ~Psalm 95:2-3

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Thy name, O most High..." ~Psalm 92:1

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God." ~Philippians 4:6

"I shall wash my hands in innocence, and I will go about Thine altar, O Lord, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and declare all Thy wonders." ~Psalm 26:6-7

It is clear that we should be giving thanks and not complaining. So here is the challenge to myself and to you: between now and Thanksgiving, make a list of at least 100 things that you are thankful for. Simple, yes. I imagine that if we all attempt it, we will find that we will quickly surpass 100 and be well on our way to several hundreds of things that we can be thankful for. Don't get too worried about whether something is "important" enough to be included. Number 1 on my list is salvation, next will be my husband, children, and family. I will name each one. But, I am sure, the simple pleasure of dark chocolate will also be on my list, as well as, birds singing, sunrises, and cell phones. Do you see where this may lead? We may have so many things to be thankful for that we forget how to complain . . . or at least make it not the first reaction in our life! My hope is that I will be so busy giving thanks to God, that I will notice fewer things for my complaining.

So, get your lists started! I would love to see what is on your list. You may add your list to the comments section on the blog, email them to me, or post them on facebook. Look out for my list . . . I have already started it! I hope the bug of giving thanks spreads!

Take the challenge! Give thanks!
Here is the beginning of my list:
  1. My salvation.
  2. The Bible.
  3. My parents.
  4. Jeff - my brother.
  5. Little Man/Bubby - my nephew.
  6. Candice - my brother's girlfriend & the little sister I never had.
  7. Lizzy - the best 'sister with fur.'
  8. Precious - the best 'niece with fur.'
  9. The time spent with my Daddy in the last months of his life. It is rare that a working person is given the opportunity to "work when you can and want to" so that they can care for a dying parent. I am forever grateful for being given that opportunity.
  10. Having a close relationship with my grandmother for almost 30 years of my life.
  11. Bubba & Shell (not their real names; it's just what we call them).
  12. Crystal.
  13. Jeannie.
  14. Finding a wonderful church (Marathon - Greenville Campus) after so many years of not going.
  15. All of my Home/Life Group girls - - - Claire, Melody, Nancy, Phyllis, Mary, B.J., Kim, Kellie, Kristy, and Norma.
  16. A place to live.
  17. Heat & air conditioning.
  18. Running water.
  19. Food in the fridge, freezer & cabinets.
  20. True friends. I have come to realize over the years that people use the word "friend" very loosely and that you never know who your real, true friends are until you face a crisis in your life. For those true friends (and you know who you are), THANK YOU for always being there for me - through the good, the bad & the in-between.
  21. Black & white photos.
  22. Praise & Worship music.
  23. Country music.
  24. Warm, fuzzy socks.
  25. Books.
  26. Cool, crisp Autumn days.
  27. Computers (I know, I know . . . but, I really am thankful for the invention).
  28. Handwritten letters & cards via snail mail. In my opinion, this is a dying art, but I love receiving mail that doesn't involve bills or junk. I also love sending cards and letters. I'm affectionately known to some as 'the card lady.'
  29. Laughter.
  30. Coffee.
  31. My health.
  32. Living in a country where I can worship, speak & live freely. We are so blessed to live in the United States of America!
  33. Kids/family movies.
  34. Drawings, coloring pictures, etc. from my nephew.
  35. Memories.
  36. Quotes (I have a little 'addiction' to quotes, but I just love them & am thankful that I can post them in places to encourage me during the day & share them with others at various times in their lives.)
  37. Candles.
  38. My job.
  39. Pastor Reggie & his wife, Ginger - for being dedicated to using their talents for God's glory.
  40. Kenny & his wife, Melissa - for being dedicated to using their talents for God's glory.
  41. Wil, Heather & the band - for being dedicated to using their talents for God's glory.
  42. Hugs.
  43. Long walks on a Fall day.


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