Be Thankful

It’s that time of year. You know, when we’re supposed to be thankful. Grateful. Appreciative. Content. Well, we’re supposed to have an attitude of gratitude all year long. But Thanksgiving really brings the point home.

What are we thankful for? For family, for home, for safety, for food, for warm clothes…it’s easy to be thankful for the good things we have, the people we love and the beautiful place we live in. But what about the other things? The challenges, the struggles, the suffering, the confusion…?

Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians, 5:16-18 Msg:

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.

Wait, what? We are to be cheerful and thank God no matter what happens? That seems hard. And, sad. And, definitely not cheerful. We are to be cheerful and grateful all the time? Even when life stinks?

Following Jesus isn’t easy. We are to love God, love our neighbors (all our neighbors, not just the ones who look like us and think like us.) We are to care for the poor and seek to make peace. We are to put others first. AND, we’re supposed to be cheerful and thankful. It makes one want to yell, “Jesus! What are you thinking?”

I found a great little resource with 22 gratitude exercises (Okay, I guess maybe that’s not “little”.) #4 has some good advice for living into what Paul writes about thanking God no matter what.

Put Things in Perspective. Obviously, things won’t always go your way. However, gratitude isn’t an emotion that is reserved for those moments when you get what you want. When things go wrong you can use the power of gratitude to release some of the negative emotions that you may be feeling due to the failure or setback that you just experienced.

After a negative event put things in perspective by remembering that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. When faced with adversity, ask yourself the following questions:

  • “What’s good about this?”
  • “What can I learn from this?”
  • “How can I benefit from this?”
  • “Is there something about this situation that I can be grateful for?”

Great advice. May we enter this next week of Thanksgiving with grateful hearts for all the circumstances we find ourselves in. Because no matter what, Jesus is always with us.

We’ll be looking for you tomorrow at 9:00 or 10:30 a.m. as we gather to praise God, thank God and bless one another.

Grace be with you,

Vikki

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