Thankfulness—gratitude—is a choice. Each day we have the opportunity to choose whether we will focus on the frustrating or the positive, the lack or the abundance, the bad or the good.
Today is November 1st, the beginning of a month that invites us to think about thankfulness and gratitude. While we all experience a lifetime's worth of ups and downs—the key difference is not in who endured the most. The key difference is in where we set our gaze. None of us can control what will happen today or tomorrow, but we can choose what we focus on. We can choose to look for the positive, find reasons to be grateful, and insist on a positive attitude even when it might be easier to be cynical or jaded.
Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Last week, Eugene Peterson died. In his paraphrase of the Bible, called The Message, he translated the last phrase of that verse, “Cultivate thankfulness.” As we embark on this month of gratitude, I give thanks for the life of Eugene Peterson, and I challenge you to cultivate thankfulness in each day of November. Set your gaze on the positive and seek to become a person of carefully, lovingly, cultivated gratitude.