I was reading something this morning, and the directive was “cultivate thankfulness.” In this season of Thanksgiving, we pay a lot of lip service to the idea of thanks, but how do we actually “live” in a thankful state?
The verb “cultivate” really struck me. We can “give” thanks or “be” thankful, but “cultivate” is so strong and forceful. It’s active, not passive.
Miriam-Webster defines cultivate as “to prepare and use (soil) for growing plants,” and “to grow and care for (plants)” and “to grow and raise something under conditions that you can control.”
How can I cultivate thankfulness using the definitions above?
1) “to prepare and use (soil) for growing plants”
I can prepare my soul for thanks. I can be open to receive blessings. If I am closed off–mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually–it can be hard to grow thanks. Openness makes us vulnerable, but that is the risk we must take.
2) “to grow and care for (plants)”
Once I give thanks for my blessings, I have to continually foster that thankful environment. When I receive something that I’ve wanted, I can’t forget about it and turn away. I have to remain in a constant state of thanks, a state that extends all year round and not just during the Thanksgiving season.
3) “to grow and raise something under conditions that you can control”
I love “that you can control.” We are given the tools to live a thankful life, but do we use them? We are given the ability to make decisions. While I may not have full control over my conditions, I do have control over my attitude toward them.
How will you cultivate thankfulness in your life?
May you have a happy Thanksgiving!