Thursday, July 26, 2012

Give Thanks. . .Really?!

1 Thessalonians 5:18  in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This scripture seems like it's asking a lot of us as frail humans, especially when we're suffering, when we're hurt, when life has dealt us a blow or a series of blows that has left us gasping for air.  So, why give thanks?  Why choose to lift our heads, to fix our eyes on the Father, and to utter even the smallest word of thanks?  Why expend the energy to focus on the positive when we can't even think past the overwhelming feelings we experience in life's hardest, darkest moments?  I've been thinking about the discipline of choosing thanks/choosing joy.  And as I've plodded along this journey toward 1000 for the last few months, I think I've peeled back a little bit of understanding to the simplicity and yet the mystery of this command of this scripture.  It always seemed so impossible to me, almost insensitive.  I always thought it needed an explanation something like "we don't have to give thanks for the circumstance, but give thanks in the circumstance."  I still agree with that, BUT I also believe that I realize that God our great creator knew His creation when He ordained this scripture.  He knew our physiological make up.  He knew how we were wired as emotional, physical, and spiritual beings.  He knew what would happen in our bodies physically and emotionally as we turned our minds away from negativity, hurt, pain, impossibility, hopelessness, . . . to thankfulness, to possibility, to the reminders of who He has been and will continue to be, to the thoughts of those who surround us who are assets in our life, to the good in our life, to the hope in our life now and in the future, to the positive.  He knew that giving thanks would act like an "emotional reset button", like a spiritual and physical energizer of sorts, especially in hard times.  He knew it would be a defense against the flaming darts of the devil.  He knew it would act as a way to refocus us on truth when Satan would love for us to believe lies.  He knew that choosing to give thanks IN everything would be for our good.  It would be for our benefit.  It would
do something powerful in us in overcoming the enemy, in protecting our hearts and minds. 

So again, I choose to give thanks.  I choose to stop and remind myself of ALL I have to be thankful for.  I choose to not only write those words here but to say thanks to those in my life who make it more abundant and free.  I choose to lift my hands to my Father in heaven and say thanks.  I choose to live gratefully to my fellow man and to realize what a blessed person I am, not a deserving person, but a blessed person.

195  I am thankful for life, for each second I have to live.

196  I am thankful for those who are in my life, for those who have been and who aren't now, for those who will be some day. 

197  I am thankful for moments in my life that are divinely orchestrated.  I am thankful for opportunities of impact to speak a kind word, to lend a helpful hand, to just smile and be generous, to listen.  I am thankful that when I think I have my day all planned out God sometimes interrupts it with a divine appointment.

198  I am thankful for a conversation about eternity with my two daughters this week and the opportunity to talk with them about the certainty of their salvation.  I am thankful that we were able to talk about their salvation stories and relive those moments together.  I am thankful for their love for Jesus and their hope in heaven.  I am thankful for their hearts for others to know Him.

199  I am thankful for a day spent with my mom.  It's been a while since it's been just the two of us. I'm thankful for a chance just to talk with her and share life with her.  I'm thankful for her love for me and her friendship.

200  I am thankful for a friend who is miles away but who is so sensitive to the Spirit's leading that she always seems to know just when I need an encouraging text.  I am thankful for friends who speak their heart and will say I love you and I'm thankful for you, friends who aren't afraid of authenticity and true expression.

201  I am thankful for my brother, Callie, and Slade and for the little one on the way.  I am thankful for how Slade tells me he loves me, and for the way he says "Aunt Jenn".  I am thankful for the way my girls love him and how he loves my girls.  I am thankful for how excited he is when he sees us.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

202  I am thankful for the way good things can come out of hard things.  I am thankful that though we can't see the big picture we can cling to the truth of scripture and know that God is always working for our good and His glory. 

203  I am thankful for love.  I am thankful that God gives us the ability to love.  I am thankful for deep love, the kind that sometimes hurts but mostly feels amazing.  I am thankful for love that compels us to give our lives (not always literally) but just our daily living, to live it out for others not inward for ourselves. I am thankful to be loved and to love.  I am thankful for those who love me and those I get to love.

204  I am thankful for people who believe in you no matter what, who see what God sees, who continue to speak truth into your life.  I am thankful for people who help you keep believing and dispelling the lies of Satan.  I am thankful for those who challenge you to keep believing that God's work is not finished yet.

205  I am thankful for the opportunity of ministry.  I am thankful when God opens doors to reach out to others and to pour into their lives, to connect with them relationally, to share life with them. 


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