Thank You… Seriously

givingthanks

Creative Commons via Hey Paul Studios

It’s November and as such, people are getting into Thanksgiving mode.

I love how in recent years, people are able to make public declarations of all things for which they are thankful via social media. It’s encouraging to me and makes me pause and think about the things I’m thankful for.

This year, my family and I are creating a simple wall of thanks with post-it notes each day for all the things for which we can give thanks. The first few days we got through the obvious… God, Jesus, Family, Friends.  Not to make light of any of these, but I really believe when we can name the simple things…they can be the most profound.

Yesterday, as I was finishing up my preparation for teaching at Refuge, I realized Thankfulness and Gratitude are both nouns. I naturally think of them as verbs because action is required when we practice gratitude.  However, it struck me that the essence of gratitude is acknowledging what already is in existence.

Gratitude is birthed from grace and practicing it grows us up in grace. It is centered on what already has been given to us and done for us.  It’s not about us doing something, or trying harder, but leaning into grace and giving thanks for what we already have.

About a month ago, I was talking with a friend who was struggling with feeling joyful at home. She has her hands full with three kids, one who has special needs. She was struggling with her feelings of resentment over unmet expectations, perfectionism and the stress of every day life.  She was concerned the tone she was setting in her home was negative and her kids were going to grow up remember a mom who was unhappy most of the time.

I hated to give her a trite and cliche answer but when I prayed for wisdom to encourage her, what came to mind was the discipline of sitting down each day and making a list of what she can be thankful for and praise God for those things.

{Thank you Ann Voskamp for allowing God to use you to show us how seriously glorious gratitude can be.}

Gratitude is one of our best and fiercest weapons against the lies that fill our heads and drive us to action.  An effective drug against isolation and depression.  Thanksgiving is a deadly blow against unmet expectations.  It is a balm to the anxiety brought on by perfectionism.

But the bottom line is, gratitude is a choice.  We choose every day to be grateful for what is… or we can choose to be ungrateful and let the darkness consume us.

So for all my friends at Refuge last night, and those who couldn’t make it… join me in one or both gratitude challenges. Let’s go from being people who hear a great word on being thankful to people who actually are thankful because we practice gratitude in how we live.

Challenge 1:

Consider taking these scriptures and read one each day before Thanksgiving. Make a list of things you are thankful for. Try to go beyond the basics (God, Jesus, salvation, family) and get specific with God.  Sometimes, the simple things are the most profound.

And because the Proverb says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” consider joining us for:

Challenge 2:

Let’s go on a complaint fast.  See if we can live the rest of the 2013 in preparation for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season without complaining. When you need to complain, make your complaints, request, and supplications to God.  Surrender it all to Him.

Imagine… what would it be like to go into Christmas without complaining about how much you have to do, how much money you have to spend, how busy you are?!

If you’re in, leave a comment and leave some encouragement for the rest of us!

 

*I am not minimizing the necessity of medical intervention when it comes to depression and anxiety. I am simply stating gratitude can beneficial to the healing of and renewal of the mind.

 

Comments

  1. Linda West says:

    Dearest Suzy This post is a remedy to my thought processes about a difficult extended family situation. I know armed with this meditation I can stand firm! I haven’t looked at the scriptures yet but I can’t wait. Grateful for you!

  2. Susie thank you for the wise words of loving action. I agree we need to make a habit of expressing our gratefulness!

  3. I’m IN! Wanting my attitude to follow my actions by being thankful in all things. Perfect after the Justice Race as we realize in the grand scheme of things, we have a LOT to be thankful for. Thanks Suzie <3

  4. Lindsey Hill says:

    Count me in too! I’m so bummed to have missed Refuge, but thankful to be brought up to speed with your blog. I so appreciate your wisdom that points to Jesus and a life-style exemplifying Him. xoxo

  5. Wasn’t at Refuge but am inspired to *try* this, knowing all too well I will fail but praying that a lasting difference is made in me nonetheless.

  6. Thank you Suzie! You confirmed what the Lord has been showing me the last few days and that is I need to focus on Him and the many blessings he has given me and not dwell on the few things I don’t have. I’m joining you on your complaining fast so if you hear me complain about anything feel free to remind me of my commitment. I missed refuge but I’m going to listen to it this week.

  7. I love this Suzie. I struggle with how we transition from thanksgiving to Black Friday and all the greed and consumerism. I couldn’t think of a better way to finish a year than purposefully moving into a place without complaining and into gratitude. Claire’s foot is covered in blisters because her brace was made wrong and this has been a great chance to put this to practice. Not everyone has the luxury of orthotics. This means no walking for a few months but we’ve had so much over the years that we wouldn’t have had without her foot supports. Thank you for this challenge and I look forward to taking and stretching thanksgiving out into the Christmas season, they do belong together.

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