Remember last Thanksgiving? I do. I’m not talking about remembering the wonderful family gathering and fabulous, home-cooked food (because my husband and I ended up eating alone at Cracker Barrel due to the sudden illness of others in our family – true story). But what I remember is just how UNthankful last Thanksgiving found me.
You see, earlier this week God reminded me of the spiritual battle that was going on in my life this time last year – and of the pit I allowed it to drag me into. So I dug out my 2013 journal and read what I poured out there. (A good reason to have a journal – so you can remember!) And then I was prompted to share all I had written. Word for word…not adding anything (except paragraph breaks to make it more readable). If it’s capitalized here, then it was in my journal. Underlined? The same. Parenthesis? Yep. I just want to give you the full sense of what I was thinking that day. And why I want to avoid beginning another Thanksgiving (or any other day) that way.
So here’s my confessions of my UN-Thankful Thanksgiving:
November 29, 2013 – Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I had to get up at 6:30 to get ready to go to church. As I was getting ready in the bathroom, I opened my computer to the Planning Center so I could listen to the music I’d be singing in church that morning. The 1st (and only) song I played was Hillsong United’s “Thank You” that begins with “Thank You for Your kindness. Thank You for Your mercy.” And that’s as far as I’d gotten through the song when it hit me like a ton of bricks – I’m not thankful. I’m not.
No, I’m not thankful for being up at 6:30 on Thanksgiving to go to church. But I’m not feeling thankful for a lot of things these days. In fact I could give a LONG list of things that I’m not remotely thankful for. Pathetic.
Let’s see, aren’t I the wise one (sarcasm) who pointed out in my FINALLY BEING PRINTED BOOK, that Psalm 100:4 says we must “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and (then) His courts with praise”? That we MISS OUT on intimacy with God in true worship if we aren’t thankful enough to get through the gate?
Not only have I been unthankful lately, but it’s filled my heart with angst (def: a feeling of dread, anxiety, or anguish). I’ve been miserable. Day and night. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” I don’t think “life” would describe what’s been flowing from my heart lately. It’s been more like springs of discouragement and frustration – nothing remotely related to joy, peace, and thanksgiving. Nothing LIFE giving.
I’ve allowed situations and circumstances out of my control to CONTROL me by not giving THANKS in the midst of them. Not FOR them – but IN them FOR those constant, unchanging truths I can always count on – that I should be focusing on and allowing to FILL my heart and mind, instead of the destructive ANGST.
I need to be quick to say, “Thank You, God, that in the middle of all of this mess, You are still God. You are faithful. You are good. Thank You that You are all-wise, all-knowing, and always by my side. You haven’t changed. You hold me in Your hand…”
Help me to keep my eyes on You and be thankful for who You are at all times, and thankful that nothing can stop You from accomplishing Your purpose AS I SEEK YOU – AS I PUT YOU 1st. AS I SEEK TO BE THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS. Help me guard my heart. Help me fight the flaming darts of the evil one, who has been trying SO VERY HARD lately to defeat me any way he can. I claim Your victory. I claim Your power. I claim Your PEACE OF MIND! Fill every nook and cranny of my mind with YOU so there’s no more space for the ANGST, frustration, worry that’s definitely stolen my joy lately. Thank You for saving me – not just for eternity, but for life now. Your plan. Your purpose. I trust You. I believe You. I thank You. Forgive my UN-thankfulness. Help me keep my armor up. I love You.
Thankfully, that prompting by the Spirit early that Thanksgiving morning saved the day for me, and I was able to spend the day in a place of true thankFULness in my heart to God – as I helped to lead worship that morning and even while eating our Thanksgiving dinner sitting in a packed-out Cracker Barrel.
So why am I sharing a page from my very personal journal with you? In case there’s anyone else who might be feeling a little bit like I was heading into Thanksgiving last year – with thanklessness that needs to be confronted – so they can allow God to replace the angst that’s taken over their heart and mind with all that He is: faithful, good, all-wise, all-knowing, . . .
Or for the person who just needs to remember who God is in the midst of whatever they’re going through, so they too can claim the victory, power, and peace that He offers. For when we’re seeing and believing Him first – inviting the Most High God to invade every nook and cranny of our minds – then we can be thankful. Truly thankful. And then we’re free to enter His courts to truly worship Him.
Because it wasn’t about the long list of things I wasn’t remotely thankful for at all. It was about who I was allowing God to be for me in the midst of them…or not. And it was about giving Him what He deserves at all times. Because He is worthy! A reminder I need every single day.
AND just in case anyone who reads my blog was ever curious whether I’m normal or not – oh yes, I am!
“You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 118:28-29 NASB).
How do you keep your thankfulness in check? What are you most thankful for right now?
NOTE: That was the end of my post. But since this has been kind of personal for me already, I want to share a funny way that God loved on me in Cracker Barrel that odd Thanksgiving day. If you’re curious, keep reading.
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