I snapped this photo a few days ago at my Mom and Dad’s lovely home in northern Wisconsin. The cozy scene was just begging to be Instagramed. :)
I surprised them by driving up a day early. The look on their faces when I rang the doorbell was priceless! You just can’t beat a good family surprise.
As we’re nearing the end of The Thankful 30, I got to thinking about habits on my drive up north. The saying goes that old habits die hard. I’d like to add that good habits can also die fast if we’re not careful.
Thirty days is just a drop in the bucket of a lifetime. Anyone can blog about gratitude for 30 days, write down 5 things they’re grateful for for 30 days, memorize Scripture for 30 days. But keeping it going for months, years, a lifetime—that’s the real challenge.
So on this day after Thanksgiving, when the deal-hunters are on the prowl and the malls are crawling with shoppers, I’m not giving up the gratitude habit. And on Monday, the day after this series ends, I won’t be giving up the gratitude habit then either. Or the day after that. Or the one after that.
Because sustaining good habits matters—especially when the habit is cultivating a thankful heart.
Showing appreciation matters.
Writing thank you notes matters.
Praising God for everything—everything—matters.
In a world where selfishness rules with a golden scepter and stuff and the accumulation of stuff is prized like gold itself, being thankful for what we have, where we live, who we love, why we love—it all matters.
Keeping good habits going doesn’t take one giant step. It takes many small ones, each building on the other to make the habit stick.
It’s scribbling down what you’re grateful for in a notebook every day.
It’s getting deep into the Psalms and letting the lyrics of praise roll over your soul like a tide.
It’s writing thank you notes to people who impact your life—not texts or emails, but actual notes. With those things called pen and paper.
It’s going to God in every difficult circumstance with a heart soft and grateful. Not because circumstances are perfect, but because God is.
It’s waking up and seeing the good in people, possessions, professions—seeing the grace in it all.
One step at a time, gratitude becomes a habit. But like a muscle, to keep it in shape it has to be used, stretched, actively engaged. The good habit of gratitude will die quickly when we get lazy, selfish, image-focused, and entitled.
But when we use it, we don’t lose it. When we call upon gratitude as a useful gift—a tool for transforming our lives and relationships—we multiply our praises, minimize our shortsightedness, and magnify our great God.
It’s the best habit we’ll ever create.