It’s Thanksgiving season!! Turkey, family, five extra pounds, and lots of gratitude feelings. Oh the holiday’s are upon us. I really do love Thanksgiving, but the truth is, it’s a holiday to REMIND us to give thanks. It’s not the only time we are supposed to give thanks. It’s a day dedicated to giving thanks. If there is a day important enough to be dedicated to something and people have the day off of work, maybe it should be in my heart every single day….not just one.
You see, the root of contentment, peace, and joy stems from gratitude. I believe with all my heart that a thankful heart can turn your world upside down in a very good way. No, I don’t mean a quick overview of everything I am thankful for…..thanks for my job, my family, my house, blah blah you get the gist. No I mean for every single minute thing in our life. Thankful for the ability to walk into Walmart and buy some candy before a trip, totally unnecessary but I was able to do it. Many people can’t even afford food let alone something as silly as candy that will rot my teeth. Thankful for a cheerful customer service person, because we all know when we get a unhelpful one….it’s never fun. Thankful for the cheerful Mcdonald’s clerk. There are blessings all around us. Things to be thankful for. As humans it is so easy to get caught up on the negative side of life.
I don’t like the layout of my house…
I don’t make enough money…..
I don’t like winter…..
My child won’t nap….
This stop light is too long…..
The more junk and lies we let fill our mind, the less grateful and happy we will be. You see, in EVERYTHING we can find a reason to give thanks.
I absolutely love the location of my house….
I make enough money to buy unnecessary candy, I am blessed with more than I deserve…
Sure winter isn’t my favorite, but there’s thinks like fireplaces, snowmen, and Christmas that make it all worth it…..
I have a healthy happy child…..
I can take this moment to talk with Jesus and count my blessings. It’s always good to be bored in this busy driven social media laden society.
Now I know, it isn’t easy to give thanks in hard situations. Trust me I know. I used to be the opposite of thankful and thinking about giving thanks just made it worse. In the pits of depression and anxiety all my mind could focus on was what was wrong. I remember asking God in many circumstances why he won’t help me. Why he wasn’t listening to my heart cries. Don’t you know I can’t do this God? You are so big and can fix this, why won’t you? Sure, God, I know other people have it worse off….but that doesn’t comfort me.
I chose to stay in the mud of negativity. Until I read the book 1000 Gifts by Anne Voskamp. I have read that book three times and read through my highlights even more when I feel down. I started practicing the principles taught in the book about giving thanks. I remember a certain moment not too long after reading that book. I had put my daughter mattress cover in the dryer. It said tumble dry low and thats what I did. Well it melted part of the cover which annoyed me to no end. As I was trying to put the cover back on the mattress I was saying all sorts of negative things under my breath. Because….have you ever tried putting a shrunken cover on a mattress? I should have done what any logical person would do…go buy a new one, but instead the mattress ended up outside of the crib as I desperately struggled to get it back on. It hit me as I was wallowing in annoyance and negativity. I need to give thanks. I started listing all the reasons I was thankful for this situation. “I am thankful my daughter has a bed to sleep in, I am thankful for a dryer to dry my clothes, I am thankful I have enough money to go buy a new mattress cover….” As I started listing the things I was thankful for, annoyance and anger seemed to melt away. Did I start with a thankful spirit. Not by any means. I was practically yelling what I was thankful for. No I didn’t have the right heart, but the right heart followed.
This is a petty little example of how I gave thanks when I didn’t feel like it. Many of our annoyance are petty, and we may not always FEEL thankful, but we always need to give thanks. Over the last year as I have implemented this in my life, I have seen my character change. I have become more patient, more content, and mostly more grateful for every single thing. I don’t deserve anything I have been given. God does not owe me anything, and I am not entitled to anything. Therefore, everything is a gift and I need to be thankful.
As we walk through this holiday season, lets not just give thanks on Thanksgiving. Let’s remember to be thankful all the time. Maybe, it’s not small petty annoyances. Maybe we are walking through a really hard time. We might not understand why and how to even start being thankful. I get it, I look back on some things we walked through that didn’t make any sense. As I look back, I realize I would never trade those times because they made me a stronger person. They developed my character. So even in the mess and muck, lets find a reason to be thankful. Even if we don’t feel like it. Because by giving thanks without the feeling, means we are trying. We are acknowledging even in the hard times that God is still God. His ways are higher than ours. He understands and knows our story far better than we do. Even if that is all we can give thanks for, that is enough.
1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”