November is peeking at us from around the corner of the calendar.
Brace yourselves for Christmas ads, Christmas decor, and Christmas countdowns.
While I enjoy Christmas, I also revel in the changing autumn colors and the Thanksgiving holiday. I realize that particular holiday was put in place by our government, but having a yearly reminder to pause and “give thanks” is an excellent practice. Today, and throughout November, my posts will primarily center around themes of thankfulness. So grab some pumpkin spice and join me in focusing on gratitude.
Gratitude Nourishes Contentment
When a friend pulls up in a brand new Mercedes or lives in a picturesque part of town, we might forget our blessings in the grand glow of their prosperity.
When others are shining their highlights on social media, we may again forget the blessings God has given us.
Do not allow your thanks to become threadbare because you are not as prosperous as someone else. A grateful heart must be fed, and the best way to feed it is remembering what God has given instead of focusing on what he has withheld.
If you feel deprived, start thinking of a blessing you already have:
- a home
- your health
- a car that works
- shoes on your feet
- a coat on a cold day
Those are just physical things (which many do not have). What about even richer blessings?
- Salvation through Christ
- God’s daily grace
- The Holy Spirit
- The Bible
- Comfort of the scriptures
- God’s unfailing love
Who cares about a Mercedes that will be an outdated clunker in 10 years? So what if someone lives in a fancy house—someday, it too will be old and falling apart. Maybe your clothes are getting old—eventually the new ones wear out too! The things we often crave only provide temporary satisfaction. We will still be left with an insatiable desire for more.
Give thanks for what you have and nourish contentment.
Give Thanks in the Moment
Make it a daily habit to thank the Lord for at least one thing while you are enjoying it. For example, when my seven-year-old runs up and squeezes me around the waist, I thank God for that moment and my son’s love. If my daughter, who suffers from a behavioral disorder, has a day without an outburst, I offer a prayer of thanks. Even something as simple as an excellent cup of chai can be an opportunity to say, “thank you, Lord, for this delicious treat!”
What are you enjoying in this moment? Say thank you to the Giver of good and perfect gifts.
Thank Him for Refining
I do not enjoy suffering, or heartbreak, or isolation. I’ve walked through all three and I’m sure there is more to come since I dwell in this unpredictable world. Looking back on the trials through which God carried me, I can clearly see how His love, faithfulness, and power were at work, even if I didn’t recognize it at the time. Furthermore, I would not have discovered “peace that passes understanding,” or what it really means to lean on the Lord, had everything been easy.
It is in the fire that we see God’s power in sharp contrast to our weakness. It is in the moment of isolation when we understand that God, unlike people, will never leave us or forsake us. In the total darkness, we discover the perfect direction of God’s pure light.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
~ James 1:2-4 ESV
Give thanks for the beautiful work God has done in you and through you.
Give thanks that He has the power to make “diamonds out of dust.”
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV