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A Thanksgetting Story

There are reasons why God gave us a place in our brains to store memories. One of them is so we recognize warning signs when we see a repeater coming our way, or maybe so we prevent problems before they happen.

A few years ago, our family decided to try eating out for Thanksgiving instead of laboring hours in the kitchen for 15 minutes of consuming the results. I could say that was the lesson learned – don’t go to a public restaurant with guests you don’t know in exchange for time at home where you know everyone – but no matter how true that may be, that’s not what I want to talk about today.

I recall vividly the line of guests snaking around the restaurant, the one that half-way circled the building. While we waited, I observed a new definition of crowdsourcing or maybe it was the antithesis of it. One simplified definition of crowdsourcing involves problem-solving accomplished by bringing ideas and strategies together in a very diverse setting. As the line grew, the source crowd was certainly demonstrating a diverse selection of ideas and strategies. I saw the warning look flash across faces when a predator threatened to cut into protected territory identified as ‘the line’. The crowd pressed to solve a problem that was totally artificial.

Problem: how-to-get-to-the-buffet-table- before-the-food-is-gone

Seriously? There was no problem to solve. Food was plentiful.

Problem Created: One person snaps at another, then others catch on and the artificial problem escalates.

For anyone who snapped at another person because they stepped ahead of them in line (oh no! – putting them one person closer to the buffet):  I ask why?

What was so critical that made it necessary to do all that pushing and grumbling all those insulting words? Food at the buffet was supplied in abundance when we arrived, and the serving tables were still overflowing when we left. Our food was hot, it was delicious, and in nearly infinite supply. There was no evidence of starvation in the crowd.

In retrospect, why all the pushing? Why all the territorial barriers? Why is it that when there was so much, there was fear of not enough? Do you know what I mean? Has this ever been your experience?

How do we build up images of deficient provision in our minds, when we already have what we need and even far more than we need? There’s that human nature tendency toward greed. We can blame it partially on marketing, well, a little bit anyway. We are constantly bombarded with messages that urge us to want more, that we are entitled to more. If we don’t want it, it’s because we haven’t heard about it yet. “It’s available, therefore I want it.”  We are conditioned to act out of urgency, to get it before it’s gone; when in fact the supply is rarely depleted. Think about it.  Isn’t it true that sometimes waiting is an advantage? Instant gratification is so overrated. Anticipation is where the excitement starts.

So, I’m not talking about a desire for fulfillment or wanting a few things that will improve our quality of life. A reliable car would be an asset. Vegetables instead of pasta would be a healthier food option, although more expensive. There are many ways to look at gauging what we need. And let’s be honest here. It’s OK to want. It’s not OK to be so obsessed with want that we are consumed by greed and forget to be thankful for what we have – the needs and the bonus to our needs.

We should never exhaust the season of Thanksgiving. We should remember – First, be grateful! The season of Thanksgiving starts with attitude. Only with an attitude of gratitude can our culture be immersed in thankful living.

If we could all look around us and appreciate what we already have, our lives would improve. Heart level gratitude changes our perspective on everything. Living thankful regenerates a cycle of ThanksLiving.

Do you want something? Do you want more than just what you need? We all do, but in that wanting, remember what we are already blessed with. If this seems difficult, start a thankful list. It begins with the words, “I am thankful for …” then just write it down. Item one – written.  Now go on to the next item and the next. If this seems silly or uncomfortable – I wonder why. There was a period in my life where being thankful was difficult for me. I didn’t like the attitude I was observing in myself. To combat the ‘nothing to be grateful for’ attitude, I started keeping a list. Every time I thought of something I was thankful for, I wrote it down. My first list was a torn piece of notebook paper. I didn’t expect to fill the page. I didn’t expect the page to be a mess from being moved around, used as a bookmark, folded and spindled. When I felt the negative ‘nothing to be grateful for’ attitude drilling its way into my head again, I grabbed my list and read word after word on my list.  I later moved onto a notebook and joy jar.

In our toolbox for life, we need the thankful list. In dark days when thankfulness is buried under layers of hurt and discontent, dig up the ‘thankful list’ and start reading. Thoughts begin in the mind before they ever get to the heart. If you intercept your thoughts and wash them with the pureness of gratitude, they will embed your heart with ThanksLiving. When you get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself.

Let us be full of Thanks and Giving. Live grateful. ThanksLiving.

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

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Jane Anderson
Jane Andersonhttp://refininggrace.com/
JANE’s professional experience is scattered across industries from financial services and insurance to engineering and manufacturing. Jane sees her background in writing and editing website content as the foundation to her current love of social media. Being an avid reader, meticulous note taker and lifelong learner has fostered her natural pursuit of sharing her world through writing. Reading books and summarizing content started as a hobby and has since grown to be a major part of her vocational experience. Jane says, “Authors pour their heart and soul into writing their book. When I write a review, it’s with intent to celebrate the book and promote the author.” Jane claims to be 'the best follower you'll ever want to meet' and has been repeatedly called servant leader, eternal cheerleader, social media evangelist, and inspirational go-to person. Jane is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

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4 CONVERSATIONS

    • Thank you my dear friend (Gumshoe). I will always be thankful that we were introduced through Dennis and BC360. I miss your articles. You, like Lynn, are one of my favorite people here in the community. You are an encouragement!

  1. Jane, well said especially this particular time of year. Jesus asks us to use only what we need, give what we have. Just as Peter was upset that someone had taken his cloak while sleeping, Jesus admonished in an eloquent way to not be begrudging of what you have when someone else may need it more. Working with the Sisters of Charity, I see how they themselves take only what they need, but give thanks for everything regardless. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

    • Thank you, Lynn. What a blessing it has been to know you this year. Thank you for your beautiful e-cards. They are a blessing to receive. I consider you one of my favorite people introduced through Dennis at BC360.

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