I know a mother who has two young children. They are wonderful children, but occasionally, they will slip into a negative, complaining state of mind. When this happens, their mother sends them to Whiners’ Jail. Whiners’ Jail is located at the bottom of the basement steps. To get out of Whiners’ Jail, they must say something they are thankful for each of the ascending steps. It’s not easy to get out of Whiners’ Jail and it takes some intentionality on their part, but by the time they reach the top, their attitudes have substantially changed.
I think the discipline of naming things I am thankful for is a very good practice during those times when I am feeling ungrateful and morose- especially in the Thanksgiving season! I must confess that there are times I belong in Whiner’s Jail.
So, if I were stuck in Whiners’ Jail but wanted to get out, here are some of the things I could say I am thankful for on my way up the steps:
- A roof over my head
- No shortage of good things to eat
- A challenging career that has held my interest for the past 23 years
- The people in the office I get to work with every day
- The people who come to Master’s for advice and are willing to share their lives with us
- My “Proverbs 31” wife
- A wonderful daughter, son, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law
- 3 energetic (sometimes hilarious, sometimes not) grandsons, ages 2, 3, & 5
- The grandchild on the way
- The Word of God that lights my path
- My heavenly Father who loves me more than I love my own family
Could we also add difficulties in life to the list? We don’t often think about being intentionally thankful during trials, but Paul instructs Timothy, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
For what things will you be intentionally thankful this Thanksgiving season?