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If I were a silent voice inside your head helping you to build healthy relationships, you might hear me say: “Let your heart be thankful.” Many say that the antidote to bitterness is thankfulness.  Polar opposites, making it almost impossible for the two to coexist.

It reminds me of my son, Chad, and granddaughter, Adeline. Adeline is a very strong-willed (although still adorable) toddler. When she is acting out, frustrated, and angry, Chad will stand up and in a strong, firm voice will say, “ADELINE, CHOOSE HAPPINESS!” (Knowing happiness is the opposite of what currently is going on in Adeline’s heart.) It startles her every time, and more times than not becomes the perfect distraction to both calm her down and move her on to the next thing. I love it and am usually the one in the corner somewhere grinning. Oh how I wish life were that easy. But I do love a good re-frame!

Can we choose thankfulness over bitterness? I think Scripture is always the best place to go for counsel and example. We like to beat up the Israelites for being so fickle, but they give us a great example of being both thankful and bitter. When God provided manna and a way out of slavery, the Israelites were thankful, but when they hated the food, they started complaining to the point of becoming bitter and actually said, “Oh, in Egypt we had the best food! I wish we could go back!!” quickly forgetting about the slavery and the severe punishment they had endured. That is us. So many times we forget to be thankful for what is in front of us because of the one negative we might be dealing with at that moment. That negative might be a family member or someone we love dearly and we, like the Israelites, need a good re-frame to turn our hearts around.    

In order to choose thankfulness, our memory cannot be short. What has God done for you? Thank Him for that. What situation do you find yourself in right now that you cannot be thankful for? Be honest before God and tell Him so. Trust me when I tell you He’s all ears!

Thanksgiving is a holiday season, but thankfulness is a condition of the heart. May thankfulness be part of your Thanksgiving season!