Have you ever felt sorry for yourself? I certainly have. When I was younger I used to compare myself to my four older siblings—they were talented, smart, outgoing, and had many friends. I felt as if I didn’t measure up to them. Comparing myself to my older siblings made me feel sad and defeated.
One day my mom sat me down and asked me what was wrong. I explained that I felt I wasn’t good enough, that I was a disappointment, and that I didn’t measure up to the high standards my siblings set. That day my mom taught me a valuable lesson that I will never forget. She taught me to not compare myself with my siblings, because each of us is different and has our own abilities. She encouraged me by telling me all the qualities she saw in my life and many of the reasons she was thankful I was her daughter. My mom said the key to not being defeated is to stay thankful.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Ever since that day, whenever I start to doubt myself, feel less than someone else, or feel defeated, I remember that conversation with my mom, and I stay thankful instead. I thank God for who I am, what I have, and the abilities I have to give to the Body of Christ. Staying thankful is a good remedy for when we are stuck in the mind-set of “woe is me,” when we feel defeated, or when we feel we don’t measure up; therefore, let’s look at how we can build an attitude of thankfulness.
How do we build an attitude of thankfulness? We start by recognizing that thankfulness is an attitude and a way of life that we can develop into a habit pattern as we decide to stay thankful every day.
One way we can do this is by praising God daily. We have something to be thankful for every moment of the day because God daily loads us with benefits. He is an awesome heavenly Father!
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
Next, we can write a daily thankfulness list. I have found that writing down three things I am thankful for every day helps me build my thankfulness attitude. There are different categories of things we can be thankful for. I choose to write down things I am thankful for about God, things I am thankful for that I have, and things I am thankful for about others. Here are some of the things I have written down on my list in the past:
THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR ABOUT GOD
- I am thankful that God is love (I John 4:8).
- I am thankful that He gave His Son (John 3:16).
- I am thankful that He never changes (Malachi 3:6).
- I am thankful that He is an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalms 46:1).
- I am thankful that He never leaves me, as stated in Hebrews 13:5: “…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR THAT I HAVE
- I am thankful for having God’s Word and knowing His will for my life.
- I am thankful for the abilities I have that I can use to bless others.
- I am thankful for the gift of Christ in me (II Corinthians 9:15) and all God made available with the new birth.
- I am thankful for all the answers to prayers that I have received (I John 5:14,15).
- I am thankful for being fully equipped by God, making me more than a conqueror in every situation.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR ABOUT OTHERS
- I am thankful for the fellowship I enjoy with believers who are like-minded on God’s Word (Philippians 2:2).
- I am thankful for the abilities of others in areas of service where I am not strong (I Corinthians 12:12-31).
- I am thankful for the encouragement and edification I receive from family and friends (I Thessalonians 5:11).
- I am thankful for the wise counsel of others who are more spiritually mature than I (Proverbs 19:20).
No matter what life brings, we can stay thankful. At times we might feel sorry for ourselves, we might doubt our abilities, or we might compare ourselves with others, but those feelings of defeat do not help us to live our best life for God. What’s the remedy? Thankfulness!
Making an attitude of thankfulness a habit pattern can help us be peaceful and confident. One way to do this is by writing a daily thankfulness list. We can be thankful every day of our lives because we have a heavenly Father Who provides so much for us, we have much to give, and we have a body of believers with which to live, serve, and grow.
Why not start building your habit of thankfulness today? Pull out a notebook and pen, and write down three things you are thankful for. Then, keep it in a handy place where you can continue adding to it every day. As you stay faithful to thinking about and writing down what you’re thankful for, look for the fruit in your life and share your joy and thankfulness with others. And maybe your habit of thankfulness will inspire thankfulness in others!
Here’s a template to get you started:
- I am thankful that God loved me so much that He gave His only begotten Son.
- I am thankful that I am a good cook (mechanic, listener, seamstress) and can bless others in this way.
- I am thankful for my sister (husband, mom, dad, brother, friend) who always listens to me and gives me wise counsel.
Enjoy staying thankful each day, remembering who you are and all that God has given you!