Nowadays, Thanksgiving dinner is cut short by a multitude of kin rushing off to pre-Black Friday sales in a subconscious attempt to fill some emotional void via a discounted shopping experience. Many Americans are shopping for a piece of peace and going deep into debt in the process. So often, a sense of entitlement (believing you deserve to have more) and/or discontentment (being dissatisfied with what you do have) are the culprits for overspending- especially during the Holiday Season. Rather than focusing on all the stuff you can buy, I’d like to encourage you to begin shifting your focus to all the blessings bestowed upon you. An attitude of gratitude is a great way to eliminate entitlement and diminish discontent.
For the next 21 days, commit to counting your non-material blessings… you know, all the stuff that money can’t buy. Use the following as a guideline. Each day, write down a few sentences about why you’re grateful for that day’s respective blessing (indicated below). After 21 days, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the positive perspective you’ve gained from shifting your focus.
21 Days of Gratitude:
Day 1: Provision. Identify something that’s been provided for you- maybe something that you couldn’t do for yourself (ie., breath in your body, a bill paid on your behalf, etc.).
Day 2: Promise kept. Nobody likes broken promises. Think about one of God’s promises (and find the scripture to back it up), or a promise that someone made to you and fulfilled. How did it bless you and why?
Day 3: Physical ability.
Day 4: Personal touch. Babies are highly unlikely to grow into thriving, socially adept adults if they don’t experience the personal touch of a loved one. Personal touch is just that critical to human development! Who’s touch do you cherish? Whether the kiss of a spouse, the hug of a friend, the brush of your cat against your leg, or even the handshake of a trusted business partner, jot it down!
Day 5: Presence. Who’s presence brightens your day? How has this person been a blessing to your life? Take this one a step further and thank them!
Day 6: Problem solved. Consider a recent problem you faced that seemed impossible to solve. What was it, how long did it last, and how was it eventually solved? Praise the Lord for the solution!
Day 7: Prayer answered.
Day 8: Prayer “unanswered.” God answers all prayers; some just aren’t answered how we want them to be. Ever pray for something to happen or change, only to discover that you’re better off without it (or him/her)? Write it down and thank the Lord for “unanswered” prayers!
Day 9: Photo. What photo just blesses your socks off? Describe who or what is in the picture and why it’s so special to you.
Day 10: Pastor. Who is your Pastor and why are you grateful for him/her?
Day 11: Parameter. Without boundaries, we would live in a world of chaos. We need boundaries in our relationships, on our jobs, and on the highways and byways. Parameters are purposeful! What’s one parameter you are grateful for?
Day 12: Physical healing.
Day 13: Pardon received. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and our sins have consequences. Oh, but thanks be to God for His mercy (not giving you the penalty you deserve)! Think about a time when you were pardoned for something you were guilty of. Forgiveness is a powerful gift to give and receive. No matter how big or small, jot it down and bless the Lord!
Day 14: Price paid. Write about a price that was paid on your behalf. This is an example of grace (receiving something you didn’t deserve/earn). Why was it such a blessing to you?
Day 15: Positive. Discuss something positive that happened to you today.
Day 16: Physical attribute. Which one of yours are you most delighted about? Don’t be shy!
Day 17: Passed test. Whether it was something school-related or a life lesson that you finally learned, consider why you’re so grateful for it. Praise the Lord you don’t have to repeat it!
Day 18: Patience. Impatience gets the best of us all from time to time. But when we’re on the receiving end of patience, it’s such a relief! Write about a time someone was patient with you. Why was it such a big deal and how did it make you feel?
Day 19: Protection. Who or what has protected you from danger and/or kept you out of harm’s way?
Day 20: Place. Can be your home, somewhere you visited, or even your place of employment. What about it makes you smile?
Day 21: Personal accomplishment. Identify it and describe it. What is it about this achievement that you are so grateful for?
We all have so much to be thankful for, yet in our humanness, we tend to take so much for granted. The more you focus on all your blessings, the less likely you’ll be to fall prey to draining discontentment, envy, jealousy, financial stress/anxiety, the evils of entitlement, or even the delusions of grandeur that blind most folks to the reality of their financial situation. You’ll smile more, complain less, begin to live within your means, and finally get out of debt (once and for all!). Invest a few minutes each day in sincere reflection of the P’s I’ve outlined above. Consider journaling and/or posting your thoughts on Facebook/Twitter, and encourage others to count their blessings with you. Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving and peace is its by-product. Couldn’t you stand to experience a little more financial peace of mind? Count your blessings and your P’s for a great gratitude adjustment. 🙂