With Thanksgiving upon us and with some help from my pastor just recently speaking about gratitude, I had something confirmed that I have been thinking about for a hot minute.
Gratitude is simple but hard. I could just stop right there but that wouldn’t be worth posting so I will continue. I admit that maybe this is more of an issue for realists/pessimists rather than optimists, but I have found that it is easy for me to look back on my life with gratitude over the difficult things that happened long ago. Sometimes it is hard to weigh the current good over the current bad. It is hard to be grateful when I am overly bothered by the difficult.
Unfortunately bad things sometimes are more memorable than good things, but amazing things are more memorable than all. The problem is I tend to forget the amazing things God has done for me, and I remember the difficult challenging things.
When I do this I fail to apply Paul’s message in Philippians. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. This is not a boast for being awesome and getting things done, but a realization that contentment is about focusing on Christ and not on our poor circumstances.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.I can do all things through him who strengthens me.(Phil 4:11-13)
Thanksgiving is a time to return and look on the good things God has done in our lives, to celebrate them. It unfortunately also reveals how often I simply tend to focus on the bad the other 364 days of the year.
This year God has been impressing on me his activity that I tend to overlook. I needed to recognize God’s hand in my life. Further I needed to decide to recognize God’s hand in my life. I fail to be grateful when I don’t choose to recognize God’s hand in my life, which leads to my worship of him to be poor. It is a vicious cycle that ends in bitterness that can be hard to come back from. This year God has invited me to enjoy him again, to look beyond myself and see him.
God has blessed Kimberly and I with Raphael, he is worth celebrating more than just on this day of remembrance. Raphael is a way that God has caused me to celebrate the goodness of God when I can’t see a clear sky on a dark day.
Thanksgiving is a time of much needed realignment. Realignment is a much needed practice for gratefulness to take root. This is another reason why Paul calls us to renew our minds in Romans. In my messes God has graciously allowed me to be able to lift my head and say God is good.
So this Thanksgiving think of the things that God has done for you beyond this simple day of celebration, raise your head and say God is good all year long.