I figured since it was Thanksgiving that it would be appropriate to write a blog post about being thankful. One thing that I’ve realized over the past week has been how the attitudes of those around me affect my own, particularly with thankfulness. I’ve found that when I surround myself with those who are grateful for the things that they have, I become more aware of how much I have been given and it causes me to feel more thankful. Conversely, when I am around people who focus more on what they want (while neglecting to think about what they already have), I find that I myself often begin focusing on those things that I want and ignore the blessings that I currently have. It is so easy to become fixated on what I’m lacking that I am blind to what I do have.
And because I don’t think that I’m too unlike the average person, I imagine that most of us are like this. We are influenced by those around us, whether towards our own betterment or detriment. You see this all the time with children and their toys. They can have an old toy lying on the ground in front of them and they won’t be the least bit interested in it until their sibling all of the sudden wants to play with it. That toy that was forgotten for so long is now their favorite toy and they have to have it right now. Just as a child is affected by its surroundings, we too are influenced by those with whom we interact. If we are surrounded by people who are constantly acknowledging their blessings, then we will become more aware of the many blessings we ourselves have. But, if we are surrounded by people who ignore what they have and focus on what they only want, then our thoughts will more likely be about what we want, too.
The cool thing about this is that it works in the opposite way. Just as I am affected by my friends, I also have the ability to affect my friends. So, in reading this, I want to challenge all of us to be people who are thankful for the many blessings we have. This Thanksgiving and Christmas season, let’s be a community that encourages thankfulness in the midst of a culture that celebrates materialism. Let’s support each other in our gratefulness to God for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon us in an effort to glorify Him and encourage each other.