‘Tis the season to be thinking about why you are thankful. I have enjoyed reading people’s Facebook quotes this month as they list the reasons they are thankful each day. Some reasons listed have been unique, others typical, and some have even said they are thankful for the pain of this past year. At first glance, it seems to make no sense to be thankful for the painful experiences in our lives, but it’s those trials that help us to grow, and teach us to trust God.
When considering what we are thankful for, sometimes we cling to the surface. We are thankful for our families, our home, and our jobs. I know I am guilty of going through Thanksgiving and Christmas without giving much thought at all to all of the blessings in my life. In fact, I have done just the opposite. I’ve complained about having to do certain things to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I’ve complained about having to go to too many seasonal parties. I’ve complained about not having as much money to spend on gifts as I would like. And I’ve been previously mad at Eric multiple times when he is not ready to leave at my appointed time for our Thanksgiving and Christmas travel plans. You might even say that I’ve entered the holiday season with a mistaken sense of entitlement.
As I’m writing this, I’m realizing how little time I’ve spent laughing and choosing to be happy in the hustle and bustle of this time of year. Maybe this can be my year to turn over a new leaf! What are you thankful for this year? Dig deep and find all you can.
A few years ago in a Liberty University convocation meeting, I remember hearing a speaker talk about a difficult situation in which he had then-recently been involved. I will recall the story as best I can, though I’m sure I will miss a few minor details. A frantic husband called this pastor and told him that his wife had locked herself in a closet and was determined to commit suicide. When he came over and tried to talk to her, she did not want to be consoled. In different words, I’m sure, she said that she did not want to go on living and that there was no reason to live.
In this desperate moment, the pastor asked God for his wisdom, and then had the idea to ask the woman to list the things for which she was thankful. At first she did not believe there was anything in her life for which she could be thankful, but he persisted. He said, “If you can’t list 100 things you have to be thankful for in this world, then I won’t stop you from taking your life; but, if you can, you have to agree to come out and not go through with your suicide plans.”
So, they began listing things. At first, she listed the big things: family, friends, provisions, etc. Then, occasionally with his help, she began to list smaller things such as her furniture, appliances, and clothes. By the time the end of the list was approaching, he asked if she was thankful for a sock and he picked up a sock from the floor. Even before reaching the end of the list, she emerged from the closet laughing and embraced her husband. The power that came from simply counting her blessings saved her life – that is the power of thankfulness.
Life is busy, there’s no doubt about that; but, I would encourage you to take the same steps this woman took, even if you are not struggling with despair or depression. We can all benefit from taking to time and listing all the blessings in our lives. Make a list of 100 things you are thankful for and keep it in a close place. When you do have days where you wonder if it’s all worth it, take out the list and read all the things aloud that God has given you or done for you. As you look deeply inside, you are likely to be amazed at all the reasons you have to be thankful.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving, and try to remember to enjoy each moment of it! I’ll try to do the same! 🙂
Have you listed what you are thankful for yet?