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Birthdays
Why Give Thanks?

"I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation."

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." -- Psalm 118:21, 29

 
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Thankfulness

Thoughts on Turning 30

By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer

CBN.com Wow, where did the time go?

I remember turning 13 years old. To me becoming a teenager meant I was now “an adult.” And the day I turned 16 and got my driver’s license is crystal clear in my memory. On that day I was sure adult status had been reached.

It seems like only yesterday that I was turning 20 and leaving my teen years behind. Yep, no question about it. I’m definitely an adult now, I thought.

Was that really ten years ago?

After ten years of jobs, bills, and other adult responsibilities, I’ve often found myself wondering, is there any way to become a child again?

On Saturday I will turn 30. Birthdays have never really bothered me, but this year is different. Why does it feel so strange to no longer be a twenty-something?

This birthday snuck up on me. When I realized a couple weeks ago that I was ending my third decade on earth and beginning my fourth, my first instinct was to reflect. I immediately began to think of (and lament) the things I have never done, the accomplishments I’ve always dreamed of but not achieved yet.

The long list left me a little depressed.

My normal excitement at the thought of an upcoming birthday was replaced with anxiety. How do I really feel about turning 30? I thought to myself. Am I going to be depressed all day Saturday? That’s ridiculous! What is wrong with me?

That’s when I decided I needed a change of focus.

A pastor once told me a sure cure for “the blues” is to count your blessings. When we take time to thank God for all He has given us, our moods have to improve because God has lavished good gifts on all of us. We need only to take the time to acknowledge them.

So I pulled a pen and paper out to make a new list. This one would not be filled with goals not yet achieved. There is plenty of time to tackle that list later. This list would be a list of all the things I’m thankful for.

Though I could spend endless hours recounting all of God’s blessings in my life, I’ve chosen to highlight only the top 10 here.

1. Salvation. I praise God for pursuing me long before I was even aware of Him.

2. Forgiveness. I thank God for his endless mercy and unconditional love even during all of the times when I don’t live up to who He has called me to be.

3. A Godly Spouse. I am forever thankful for the man God chose to be my husband.

4. Great parents. For all of you Christian moms and dads who are raising children in a godly home, I tip my hat to you. Your prayers and the example you set will be hidden away in your son or daughter’s heart for years to come.

5. Answered prayers. It still amazes me to think that the God who created the world takes time to listen to our prayers, and that He cares enough to answer them.

6. Good friends. From college roommates to wise elders of the faith, God has placed more wonderful friends in my life than I can count.

7. Godly mentors. I am thankful for those who have come alongside me offering words of wisdom, fervent prayers, and gentle nudges in the right direction.

8. A good job. Who else gets to work in a ministry, do what they love each day, and get paid for it?

9. Failed relationships. Yes, I’m talking about those painful cry-your-eyes-out type of break ups. Though heartbreaking at the time, they taught me what I wanted (and did not want) in a future husband, and they taught me to trust God with my anxieties about finding a spouse.  Note to singles: don’t settle for less than God’s best when it comes to a spouse. He knows exactly who your “best match” will be. Let Him work out the details.

10. A wonderful church family. I am thankful for my brothers and sisters who are faithful to pray for me and to share in both my joys and my sorrows (and allow me to do the same for them) as we do life together.

As you can imagine, the list I compiled that day was much longer than this one. It included everything from God’s provision of a home for us this year to simple pleasures like a beautiful fall day and peaceful times of reflection by a picturesque lake.

Maybe adulthood isn’t so bad after all. As a child, I’m sure I never stopped to appreciate these things.

The exercise not only lifted my mood, but through it God taught me an important lesson. Birthdays are not the only times we should reflect on our lives. Every day is a good day to be thankful for all that God has given us.

Have you counted your blessings lately?


Belinda Elliott is the Daily Life Producer for CBN.com. For her 30th birthday she plans to treat herself to a day full of her favorite things starting with new clothes and a Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

Read more of Belinda's articles

Comments? Email me

 

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