By Frieda Dixon/Word Weavers Woodstock
On Thanksgiving we focus on feasting and being thankful for our blessings. Instead of concentrating our attitude of gratitude on one day in November, let’s adopt an attitude of Thanks Living during every day of the year.
The following quote from cartoonist Bill Keane sums up the meaning of Thanks Living.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God,
that’s why we call it the present.”
Yesterday is History
What do we do with the past? We’ve all been through tough times. We’ve been hurt by the actions of others and we’ve made some bad choices. Is it possible to make peace with our past? According to psychologists, the first step to dealing with the past is to remember it. In other words, don’t stuff bad memories and paper over them with some addiction that only adds to the difficulties of today. At the same time don’t become a victim of the past. Continuously dwelling on past events and wrongs makes them grow bigger, more powerful, and destroy today’s potential for happiness.
Writing down past memories is very therapeutic. Writers usually examine the past in great detail and reveal our life experiences in our non-fiction and fiction writings. Many times we discover how God has used all events of our lives to grow us into mature Christians.
Dealing with our past often leads us to forgive others. Forgiveness is like cleaning out a cluttered closet. Unloading shelves and digging into corners unearths dusty boxes and dust bunnies. After the clutter is sorted and thrown away or donated, we can enjoy opening that closet door again. Nobody likes to stir things up, but that often leads to cleansing and healing.
Tomorrow is a Mystery
The future is unknown and since we can’t control the unknown, we worry about what we can’t see or know. Worry is caused by fear and our bodies and minds are not equipped to deal with being under a constant state of alert. Maybe that’s why the Bible speaks so clearly on the subject. “Fear not” is mentioned in the Bible more than 365 times—once for each day of the year.
As we look back on our lives, we remember how God has provided for us in ways beyond what we could have imagined. Many things we worried about never came to pass and things not on our radar screens became daily priorities instead. Our future may seem a mystery, but from God’s perspective it’s not mysterious at all. He sees our lives from the beginning to the end and has it all in his capable hands. We can live thankfully when we trust ourselves to the one who loves us the most.
Today is a Gift of God
Every day is a gift because no one knows what tomorrow will bring. Each dawn is full of new opportunities and challenges. It’s easy to view an opportunity as a gift, but a challenge or difficulty often causes us to grumble, complain, and feel stress. An attitude of gratitude and a good sense of humor empower us to tackle problems one by one. Another important tool for managing daily stress is flexibility. It would be nice to be an air dancer—a tall colorful balloon that swings and sways in the wind. Having that kind of flexibility would make it easier to cope with unexpected events. We all like to think we are in charge and control of our lives when, in reality, we have to let go and let God.
We also need to see each day as an opportunity to give back. Today can be even more rewarding when we become a gift to someone else. A prayer, phone call, visit, or act of kindness goes a long way toward putting a smile on another person’s face.
Thanks Living becomes part of us when we put the past in proper perspective, trust God to take care of the future, and celebrate each day as a gift to share with others. That’s why we call it the Present.