Read with me, “This is the day which the LORD hath made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6
As I witness all our American friends celebrating Thanksgiving, seeing their posts online and reading the word Thanksgiving multiple times a day, I heard God say to me “do not neglect thanks giving in your life.” I pondered on the meaning of living a life full of thanks in any circumstance, and in all honesty I realised that there are many areas in my life where I feel ungrateful and unfulfilled. There is much I remind Him of that I still need and want, without thankfulness for what I do have. How often do we pray without engaging with the one who is truly a Giver. We have so much to be grateful for. For me, thanksgiving is uncomfortable; it requires intentionality and a deliberate adjusting of my focus away from what I view as deficits. Being grateful demands a deliberate action on my part of looking away from what needs more, and honouring what already is.
You can choose to own what He has given you. Make it your own. Accept the good gift, and give thanks. Thank Him for life, for hope, for peace, for provision, for salvation, for freedom, for healing, for opportunities, for grace, for the finished work of the cross, for the Kingdom, for your family. Make a list of everything you are trusting for, and bring it to His attention with praise in your heart. Make your requests known to Him, with the addition of thanksgiving, keep your heart prostrated in humility before Him as you thank Him. This might take a while to master, as a new skill to be learnt, set your mind on what is good during the day and see your heart respond in kind. Reset your mind; restructure your thoughts to be grateful and to give thanks. For example,
When you don’t have, GIVE (thanks.) I have nothing or very little to give? GIVE THANKS.
What can you give thanks for today? Be grateful.
What do you discern is still lacking? Give thanks.
When everything around you screams, “be anxious,” then give thanks.
When it feels impossible, when you are overwhelmed and hope is waning, when you are despondent and staring impossibility in the face, just say thank you, Father. And see how you gain a new hopeful perspective, expectant of peace. He is able to do for you, far more than you can think. He is willing and able to redeem to the uttermost! Even the deadest of situations, even the darkest of shame, He is ready to shine the bright light of hope.
As in Romans 6, do not let sin reign and have its way with you, tossing your thoughts about in the waves of uncertainty. Have a new thought. Break the cycle of pain and dominion of sin. Believe, and give thanks for the fact that shame has not been imputed to us, but abounding grace unto freedom. You do not have to do mental gymnastics to validate your worth. He already provided everything you might ever need in His Son.
Remember that the antidote to despondency is to give thanks. When the reasoning steps in, and causes your head to ask a million questions and the questions instill a thousand hopeless ‘why’s,’ turn the table and do the opposite of what the flesh is demanding. Instead of confirming the hopelessness of the flesh, come into agreement with the rich hope that comes from thankfulness.
It is the flesh wants comfort, and more often than not we demand certain feelings as evidence of His goodness. When we don’t “feel” it we assume something’s missing. He either didn’t come through, or I was not good enough to impress Him sufficiently to convince Him to act on my behalf. But you have the power to create, to change the atmosphere, often times you initiate the ‘feeling’ by cultivating it. Give thanks, operate in thankfulness, cultivate it, grow it, and give it. If you inherently accept you are bad and unworthy, gratefulness is almost impossible. I want to tell you today, you are called and sanctified by His blood. You have been made righteous. Thank Him for that today. Thank Him for freedom from shame and guilt, for paying a price that redeemed you from punishment. Be inspired to confidence as you know you have much to be thankful for.