Thanksgiving has become an important part of my life, and I practice it beyond just a few weeks in November. In today’s turmoil, it is easy for me to mull over the things that are going wrong, and I struggle to recall the good. Just before Thanksgiving, my kids once again experienced the disruption of in-person school by the 2020 nemesis known as COVID-19. Frustration builds as it continues to wreak havoc on family and friends getting together in person. To add to all of that, my poor daughter has been swabbed three times, all with negative results. Even as complaining ensues, I seek thanksgiving as the constant remedy for a spiraling attitude.
I seek to recognize God's promises, provision, and purpose for my life. The political angst, constant battle with illness, and yes, even COVID-19, shrink in comparison. Giving God daily praise for the good things He has established in my life yields even more positive thoughts. As a result, I engage my sphere of influence, and look for connection and opportunity rather than remaining closed off from solutions. Focusing on praise even changes how I feel physically. So, as I take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), I practice giving thanks.
I would like to take this moment right now to thank God for His fulfilled promises in my life.
Thank you, God, for:
· The growth happening in my family’s faith.
· How my husband has been guiding and helping us navigate COVID-19 with faith and peace
· Helping me learn to love my neighbors more deeply, and in small and big ways
· How my children are spending time in scripture and asking good questions
· Discipline, resources, and hope offered through time with my church family
· That we have enough to eat
· The physical Therapist rehabbing my foot
· Opportunities to encourage others
· The gift and discipline of writing
As I type out these tangible ways of noticing God's faithfulness I sit up straighter, breathe more deeply, and feel calmer. Thanksgiving realigns my mind, body, and spirit to God’s perspective on life. I see that “all things work to good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes” (Romans 8:28). It really doesn’t matter how bad things in this life have gotten, especially when I recognize what God is turning to right. I read scriptures that acknowledge God is not limited by sickness or calamity. And, through this year of uncertainty, I trust He is faithful to grow me faithfulness and trust.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Thanksgiving is a part of God’s identity. In the beginning, as He formed the heavens and the earth, He stated, it “was good” for each of the days of creation (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18, 21,25, 31). This is a model for our lives that we should seek to emulate. We can start with small acknowledgments of what is good in our lives. This is especially critical when our circumstances feel overwhelming. It is a constant surprise that when I start giving thanks for the small joys, the many more things that can be found. What are ten things you can thank God for in your work, your family, your home, friends, etc.? Write them down in a journal or on paper that can be placed for daily viewing. Looking back can be a good reminder in the times when life gets really challenging.
When we practice thankfulness, we are realigning ourselves to the truth of who we were created to be. Recognizing what is good establishes ethical boundaries and matures our understanding of ourselves in relation to God. It initiates a pattern of humility and shows where to place our hope. The God of the universe recognized the goodness of His creation, so why shouldn't I. When I stop. Breathe more deeply. Take my thoughts captive in order to give thanks, I become more familiar with God’s character. Giving thanks acknowledges what is good does not come from us, but from God. God often has me practice my thankfulness through poetry. What are the ways you can practice thankfulness? How about singing songs, painting, writing, and dancing. Whatever way you express thanks, it will illuminate that God is with you.
Thanksgiving—The WD-40 of Faith
Thankfulness is my WD-40.
When worked into my frame,
I remember Your goodness.
You built a firm foundation of faith, hope, and love.
No matter the damage I withstand,
I can count on the sturdiness of my God.
Lord, I praise you for your presence with me and your sustaining grace that equips me to grow in faith. Amen
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