May I bend your ear for a moment? This has been an extremely stressful week for me. I've had to deal with some things that no parent should have to deal with. I am weak, weary and worn. This was also the week that my daughter threw a surprise wedding shower for me. It was a delightfully perfect evening. I felt such an outpouring of love that I will treasure, always, in my heart.
So where do I choose to "hang my hat"? Focusing on how life and circumstances depleted me, or on how the love of my daughter and friends filled me up?
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
When I was young and my mother would try to give me cough medicine (yes, the yucky thick red stuff), I could bob, dodge and weave like a champion prize fighter. When the medicine hit its mark, then I would cough and choke on it. Was this really good medicine?
Thankfulness is a lot like good medicine. Sometimes we may cough and choke on it, but we need to do it anyway.
God calls us to be thankful, not because He needs the thanks, but because He knows it is truly good for us. God is not a glory seeker. He is perfectly sufficient without us. In other words, He doesn't need our thanks, but He knows that we need to give thanks. It is hard to be miserable while giving thanks. Thanksgiving and giving praise can override whatever state we happen to be in at the time. This is just another example of how God's heart is always truly loving toward us!
In everything give thanks. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34)
Too often we, at least I, focus on what we don't have versus what we do have.
Really, if we received no other gift, but the gift of eternal life with our Father in Heaven, we should be endlessly thankful! All the other blessings are like the cherry on top.
Sometimes, I think that I can't give thanks until I am in a thankful mood. Instead, I need to just choose to say, "thank you". I don't wait for my emotions to change. In fact, the obedient act of choosing to give thanks, can change how we feel.
Studies show that if you write down five things a day that you are grateful for, you feel 25% happier.
Ann Voskamp, in her book "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" says, "Stress decreases by half - simply by multiplying our thanks. Why in the world don't we do this?"
We can thank God with more than mere words...we can thank Him by "paying it forward" and doing a good deed for someone else and then thank God for giving us the ability to do so. We can thank Him in word, deed, song and even dance. Confession time...I used to be a dancer and so often I put on praise music and dance around my kitchen as a way of saying thank you to my loving God. (It also gives the neighbors something to talk about).
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
This is why God calls us over and over again to give thanks. He is loving, kind, compassionate and abundantly good to us. He knows that when we give thanks it is truly good medicine and we are blessed because of it. He also deserves our thanks!!
What, during this season of giving thanks, are you thankful for? Will you share it with God and be blessed?
In His love,
ps. Just a reminder that I will be giving away a copy of Ann's book mentioned above as well as a DaySpring coffee mug with Isaiah 40:31. If you subscribe to my blog in Nov/Dec I will pick one blessed winner from those who subscribe. Also I still pray for all readers of my blog, morning and night, and I truly give thanks for you! You are loved!