Looking Up and Living Thankful

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches here in the United States, we all tend to become a little more thankful. This is a great thing. The truth is we all need reminders of the blessings we have in our lives, no matter how big or small they happen to be. However, what if we could take the same approach everyday instead of just the fourth week in November? How would that impact our lives?

As I have considered the impact of being thankful, the image of a person either looking up or looking down comes to mind. When we are looking down, we can only see what is right in front of us. This causes us to focus on our present circumstances. Unable to see beyond them or around them, we can fall into a scarcity mindset, believing life is a zero-sum game. Living in a scarcity mindset, we only see what we do not have instead of what we do have. The reality is anyone can fall into this trap, no matter their socio-economic condition. We can all keep our eyes pointed to the ground, creating a sense of hopelessness and distrust.

How do we break the cycle? We lift our eyes up. Yes, I it is very simple act, but it can have a profound impact. When we are looking up we can still see our present circumstances. However, we can also see the possibility of a different future as well as our current blessings. This creates a sense of thankfulness, fighting the scarcity mindset that tries to drag us down. Yes, we could be facing challenging realities, but when we look up we can almost always find something for which to be thankful. This can change the way we look at life, producing hope and peace.

I do not think this is a happy accident. I believe it is by design. God created us in such a way that living thankful, as opposed to just being thankful on occasion, produces more life. I recently had the honor of being a part of someone’s funeral who had suffered with cancer for a number of years. While her journey was full of pain and challenges, she kept her head up, choosing to see the blessings she had in her life. Again and again, people shared how encouraged they were by the way she lived. Thanksgiving was not just a holiday for her, it was a way of life.

We are faced with the same choice this Thanksgiving. Will we live looking down, feeding a scarcity mentality and robbing ourselves of hope, or will we look up and choose thankfulness? The answer seems simple, but it is not always easy. I hope this Thanksgiving, you will choose to not just be thankful but to live thankful. Your life will be better for it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

James Belt

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