The Power of a Thankful Heart

I had an encounter with a homeless man a few weeks ago that, though brief, really shook up my notion of what it means to be thankful.

See, the thing is, I've always considered myself a pretty thankful person. I say "thank you" when someone opens a door for me, and I mean it. I appreciate all the ICEE's my mom has bought me over the years, and I am thankful--I mean, really thankful--for the blessings and work of God in my life, particularly for my relationship with Him and with my family and friends.

But I started thinking, "Do I even understand what it means to be thankful?" Because I think, truth be told, my thankfulness has a sort of cap or limit. Sure, I'm thankful for my faith. Thankful for my doggies. Thankful for my shoe collection. But how often so I take for granted the basic and vital things I know, that I've always known?

Like food, for instance. Shelter. A car. Family.

So often, because I've always had these things, I think part of my mind just assumes they're given. Thing is, they're not. For years, I've told myself people without those things, at least in America, are probably without them for some reason, be it an addiction or irresponsible choices. But that's not always true. And even if it is the case, is God's grace any shorter when extended to those really in need? Then why do we so often act like it is? Like we're somehow better because we know we're Christians?

These past few weeks, I've been trying to challenge myself to examine my thinking. What I've found is that my thoughts are alarmingly narcissistic. Not that some self-preservation isn't healthy now and then, like when a student tries to sass me or the grocery store doesn't want to accept my coupons. But what if instead of looking at my husband's shoes in the middle of the room and thinking, "I wish he'd put those in the closet," I looked at those same shoes and thought, "I'm glad I have a husband"? What if instead of looking at the dishes and thinking, "Ugh, I just unloaded the dishwasher," I looked at them and thought, "I'm thankful to have food tonight"?

Think how many more people we could affect if we looked at the world this way. I hope this blog isn't too serious in tone; I normally try to be a lot funnier, but this is what's been on my heart lately.

What do you guys think?


  1. Oh Ashley, so true! I so often let the little things distract me from the big things I should be thankful for-- the things that I feel I take for granted, but would be miserable without (husband, children, food, clothes!)
    Have you read or seen Francis Chan? He wrote Forgotten God...He talks a lot about this sort of stuff and how the body of Christ sometimes forgets our access to the Holy Spirit, and our duties as love the world and reach out. It's kind of deep, but your post totally reminded me of it!

  2. I haven't read him personally but my best friend loves him, and I've heard nothing but good things! That is so true! When I find myself getting caught up in everything that's bugging me about the day, I usually find I've also disconnected spiritually at some level in my ability to sense God's urgings. Thanks again for your feedback today; it was so helpful!