One of the many stages of learning to read includes word families. Building fluency through showing how words relate by just changing one letter. If you can read cat, you can read bat, hat, mat, etc.. A much later progression of that is how changing a single letter can drastically change a word. We talk about that often in prefixes and word meanings. Just adding an s to a word takes it from a singular to plural. We also talk about how just the reversal of single letters can completely change a word.
A single letter.
It can change everything.
My heart has been soaking in for several days now a very popular word this season and changing just one single letter. I've been a bit in a whirlwind in the last couple of weeks and "off track" so I've not had as much time to read my favorite inspirational and spiritual blogs as often, but I do continuously see this "new" word pop up and seeing it is what has sparked my heart to really be soaking it in. I've not had time to sit down and read to see how the "single letter" change has been described amongst those blog writers, but it's still had my wheels turning.
It's this month.
It's this season (though it seems to get lost in between Halloween and Christmas more and more every single year).
It's a holiday.
It's a day.
Yet, it's more than JUST a day if we allow our hearts to meditate on the COUNTLESS gifts God gives us on a daily basis. I GREATLY focus as a parent to foster gratitude in our children and try to steer them away from the DISEASE of this world: expectation and lack of gratitude. I seek to make sure that my own heart operates in a state of thankfulness. Let's face it: we could begin to write out things to be thankful for and if we are honest, the ink should run out of our pens before we could finish. Many post throughout the month of November a daily thankful status of one thing they are grateful for. (However, I'd venture to say that in comparison to last year, I am only seeing less than 10% participating.)
What if we changed a single letter.
What if we exchanged that first G for an L?
Instead of just thanksGiving we instead were thanksLiving.
Would it change us?
Giving thanks is important. It's vital. It can change our hearts in such a way that makes an impact. It changes us in powerful ways.
What if that single letter changes everything.
Instead of just saying we are thankful, we lived out our thanks.
What if we SHOW our thanks.
What if we WALK in thanks.
What if we BREATHE thanks.
What if we LIVE thanks.
What that looks like for you may look totally different than what that looks like for someone else, but what if?
What if instead of just saying we have gratitude, we truly ACT like we are grateful. I've often said "actions speak louder than words".
You see, I think
I say I'm grateful for ________, but do I treat that something, someone, blessing, gift, etc... as if I am?
If you are truly thankful for something don't you treasure it? Don't you take care of it? Don't you not take it for granted?
It's easy to say we are thankful, but to LIVE thankful is very different.
I think sometimes we can be pretty petty with our gratitude. Hang with me, don't tune me out. I'm speaking to myself just as much as anyone that might be reading. We can attempt to be trendy with our "thankfulness". Our thankfulness is too often centered on trivial things. I may say I'm thankful for my chocolate (and my family may be thankful on the days that it sure changes Momma's mood!). You may say you're thankful for your Starbucks or some other "fancy" drink I know nothing about. We may say we are thankful for a specific item or brag about our frugal deal. We may say we are thankful for a parking place, for not being late to appointment, etc...
Isn't that just really petty and trivial?
It's almost a flippant use of the word.
Our "thankfulness" too often tends to be directed to so many things that really aren't of importance.
We are shallow.
We say we're thankful for our homes, jobs, etc..
Do we live that out?
Just the simple exchange of one letter changes everything.
What if we made the switch and truly began to live it out?
How would our lives look or be different?
I think it would bring our focus away from worldliness and more to a spiritual level. I think it would allow God to flow more freely in our hearts. I think we'd be less worried about what others have that we don't. I think we'd be less dissatisfied and finally truly become grateful. We'd stop being discontent. We'd truly value EVERY day as a gift.
I think if we were living out thankfulness---we'd begin to change our marriages, our families, our communities and our world.
Because to SAY we are thankful---to simply offer thanks---though important, isn't quite enough.
If we are thankful for homes and the amenities that we take for granted, we'd be more concerned for those without if we were living out thankfulness.
If we are living out thankfulness, we'd wrap our arms around the hurting, the ones in need, and the ones that are broken or alone.
I believe that if we switch from thanksgiving to thanksliving---that we will DO something with our gratitude.
That is to be truly grateful.
Today, what can YOU do to live out thanks?
What is God calling you to do that you've been afraid of, pushed off, or run from?
What is God nudging in your Spirit?
What gift has He given you that you aren't living out?
Who do you need to wrap your arms around and say let me walk with you on this journey?
Who do you need to stop and TRULY say thank you to? Not just a "thanks", but a heartfelt, heart-given thanks.
If we are living out thanks, I think it becomes harder to hold grudges, anger, and bitterness. I think it causes us to value grace and mercy. I think it becomes harder to focus on self. I think it draws us closer to God and opens our eyes to see Him and our ears to hear Him. I think it stirs our hearts to get up and DO SOMETHING.
I think it takes our focus from ourselves.
Isn't that what thanksgiving is about. Whether we are giving thanks or living thanks---it should be about Him. He gives us more than we can ever say thank you for----so our lives should be a reflection of our gratitude. Giving or living thanks.