My house decor is a good gauge of how I’m feeling lately. The thanksgiving fake pumpkins from Hobby Lobby are being overthrown by red and gold curtains and throw blankets. Why am I fast-tracking through thanksgiving? Why do I already have lights on my house and a tree with 5 colored twinkle strands? Because I need Jesus, not a turkey. Are you feeling me??
I wonder if you’re like me and thankfulness seems more like an inner battle rather than a celebration this year. I wish I could sit with you and look you in the eyes as you tell me the things that didn’t go to plan this year. The people who are gone that should be passing the gravy. The dream job that turned into job loss. Or all the little losses along the way that’ve left you a bit jaded and unexpectant.
Friend. Sigh. Friend. Let me tell you something important. You do not need to feel thankful to be thankful. You can celebrate thanksgiving this year and really mean it. You and I can bust out the turkey platter with sincerity if we want to. Here’s how I’m doing it…
Be honest with yourself about what you’re NOT thankful for. I like exactly NOTHING about fake people. I don’t like to act fake. I don’t want to be fake with my feelings, and I don’t think God wants us to either. In scripture He commands us to come to him when we’re weary. (Matthew 11:28) To give Him our burdens and rest in Him. He wants us to be real with Him about our burdened hearts so He can relieve them.
Battle bitterness in prayer. Pray. Talk to God honestly about disappointments, set backs, losses, and failures of this crazy year. For me it means grieving my grandpa who died of Covid. And all the little things that just went wonky. We have to let go of bitterness before we can accept a posture of thankfulness.
MAKE A LIST of all the ways God has provided, cared for, loved, sheltered, given you joy, helped, comforted, etc in the past. So often in scripture, grumbling and bad attitudes are a reflection of how God’s people have forgotten their Father. They’ve shifted their focus from His love and mercy –past, present, and future– and are only seeing the bad of right now. Sound familiar? I need this heart check right now. Even as I type I’m flooded with ways He’s been faithful. I challenge you to make a list and remember your God is good.
Serve someone as an act of thanksgiving to the Lord. Thankfulness can be elusive. We think if we don’t feel it, it’s not within us. But we aren’t to feel thankful. No where in Scripture does God command us to feel thankful. He tells us to BE thankful. (Colossians 4:2, Hebrews 12:28)What does thankful look like when we commit to being thankful in our core? It looks more like a battle than a tablescape. It looks like doing rather than feeling. And the funny thing is, sometimes when we start doing things as an act of thankful worship or obedience, our feelings can follow.
We are a people of an immoveable God. Though the world may bring chaos. We will be thankful. Though our lives may have hardship. We will fight back with thankfulness. Because no matter what comes, our God is King, and He is good. And His love endures forever.
Come on! Now I’m ready for turkey. And I pray blessings of renewed thankfulness to all of you this season! Happy Thanksgiving friends!
His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
A Psalm for giving thanks.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” psalm 100 ESV
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Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.