What If…

“What if today, we were grateful for everything?” Charlie Brown 
“Simply being grateful is a good start …living a grateful life is where others take notice and transformation happens.”

I grew up watching those Peanuts holiday specials, a highlight of my yesteryears. Even now the ever-familiar music of Vince Guaraldi brings a smile to my face when I hear those opening notes. Over the decades since my own childhood, I have watched the adventures of Charlie Brown and Snoopy with my own children. My kids have very lively personalities just like the characters from the comic strip.  Anyone who spends a fair amount of time with our family knows first hand how often we love to laugh. My heart is grateful for the abundant laughter that frames our family. As we close on this Thanksgiving weekend I want to take a few moments to reflect on a “what if” heart perspective. 

When the 2015 Peanuts movie was released I made sure to see that with my littlest Braaten, who similar to her older siblings has a vibrant personality, she is my littlest peanut. Chyla adores Snoopy and his antics probably because she can relate to Snoopy’s outrageous behavior. In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we can become a bit outrageous ourselves. I know for me even with the late date of Thanksgiving I found myself running a bit on empty. But in my emptiness, I am learning to lean into the Father. I know that a grateful heart is key to a life filled with divine blessing. Colossians 3:15 says “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” The peace we know that surpasses all understanding can springboard us into becoming people who look at gratefulness as a practice all through the year, not just this past weekend. 

“Being grateful in all things honors God and inspires others to see Him as our Yahweh-Jireh.”

What If …………

Charlie Brown makes it more of a statement than a question. What if today we counted our blessings and embraced the idea of an attitude of gratitude? What if today we took a look at all that we had to be thankful for and actually gave thanks for the divine provision from our Heavenly Father? How would our lives look, how would we greet a stranger, our loved ones, co-workers and the checker at the local grocery store if we not only possessed an attitude of gratitude but also acted on that gratefulness in all areas of our lives? In Psalm 107:31-32 the scripture says “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”  When we give thanks on a daily basis in all things a transformation occurs and we are filled, no longer empty and depleted. 

Dea is forever grateful for her husband’s patience, encouragement and love for her.

I know the danger of living this life with a what if mentality. I have spent more years than I care to admit living too far in the unknown of my future or bogged down in the heaviness of might have beens. I know firsthand that a what if perspective robs us of our intentionally living our lives in the here and now. I am certainly not suggesting that we live in what if but rather I am offering a challenge: that we each commit to reflecting the simple childhood wisdom of Charlie Brown what if we were grateful for EVERYTHING. Let’s commit to change our perspective and ultimately the way in which we live our lives TODAY.  Colossians 3:17 tells us, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Dea Braaten