Thankful – Even for a Minnesota Spring
And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
Every February, at the end of the month, I begin to hope that March means Spring. I know from living in Minnesota for 20 years that it’s not Spring yet, but still, I hope. So, the other day, at the end of March, I found myself bitter and angry about the winter storm that was disrupting my morning commute. Why do we have snow when it’s almost April? Why do I live here? This is so stupid. I had a bad attitude. I was heading to the treatment center to see patients though, and I knew I needed to turn my mind around. So, I began to thank God for the good things in life. I thanked him for a warm car and a warm home. I thanked him for my family and a job. I thanked him for my recovery and asked that he allow me to help others find recovery. In the end, I even thanked him for the needed moisture that was falling from the sky.
Suddenly, I wasn’t grumbling and complaining anymore. Instead of whining about the temperature and road conditions, I was able to see all good things that God had given me. In focusing on that and in choosing to be thankful, my outlook and attitude were completely transformed. I had a much better morning, which in turn, spilled into the lives of those with whom I worked. My gratitude wears much better than self-centered whining.
In today’s passage, Paul instructed his audience to be thankful. It’s a tiny sentence, wedged in with multiple other commands, but it’s an important choice and it’s something we must do daily. It may be that God wants us to say thank-you because he desires our gratitude. He always wants what’s best for us though, so I suspect that the command is more for our good. God knows, and Paul wrote, that we must choose gratitude because in doing so, we change our thinking. In saying thank-you, even in a Minnesota Spring storm, we turn our minds from ourselves to God. We get out of our self-centered world view, stepping back, recognizing all the good God has given us.
In ruminating on our our trials, we focus on ourselves. In choosing gratitude, we turn our thoughts to God. So, we can whine and grumble or, we can choose to thank God for all that he has given us. Sometimes, we can even thank him for the tough times, knowing that he’s using those times to shape and grow us. In daily choosing gratitude, we are continually transformed more and more into what God made us to be.