Mindful... or Thankful?


As more distractions overtake the mundane moments of life, we strive to be more “in the moment” and less tethered to cyberspace or the shackles of shortened attention spans. 

Every week or so, I see a new headline on “Mindfulness” or being “Mindful.” Proponents say that living in the moment will help me relax and discover some kind of inner truth that can only be revealed from washing dishes by hand or breathing deeply 21 times.

Like many things, I’m sure there is some value to what the health and productivity gurus say, though be forewarned (be mindful?) that most of the mindful mandates find their way to Buddhist teaching. Instead, Christians can embrace an attitude that trims away our distractions and tensions by taking us closer to Christ rather than deeper within ourselves.

Psalm 107:1 tells us precisely where to direct our attention, 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good for his steadfast love endures forever!” 

My mindfulness will be better served in the form of thankfulness. Rather than mindfulness in myself, I’m thankful to the Lord. His goodness is forever, unlike my temporary mindful moment.

Philippian 4:6 addresses anxiety directly and describes the same necessary ingredient, 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” 

We won’t find a cure for anxiety outside of God Himself.

As Colossians 3:15 tells us, there is no place for emptying the mind or the heart. There is no need to find solace in our own breath or zen dish washing. Instead, 

“let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...And be thankful.”

The Thanksgiving holiday approaches and there is much cooking, traveling, and perhaps shopping on your calendar. When stress arises, will it be a mere moment to be “mindful,” or time to be thankful?

Image: Moyan Brenn

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