Monday, November 29, 2010

Let Us Give Thanks

            “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

            What better time to be reminded of thankfulness than right around Thanksgiving?  I started reading a new book at the end of October. It’s called “Preparing to be a Help Meet.” It was supposed to give me tips about attracting men…no, not really, it was about how single woman can serve God and prepare themselves to become wives someday. What I wasn’t ready for was the chapter on gratefulness I read a couple weeks ago. Since it is November, of course I was already surrounded by messages of being thankful for what I have and the blessings God gives. But that chapter pointed something out in way that finally got my full attention. I realized that just stating what you’re thankful for is not true gratefulness. True gratefulness involves taking in all the blessings God has given and thanking Him for what He has done. A few days after reading that, my pastor preached on Thanksgiving. He repeated a phrase he has used before, but I never really took it to heart until then. He basically said that if God never blessed you with anything else beyond your salvation, you still have reason to give thanks to Him. Believe me, God has blessed me with so much since the day I was saved; I probably could not count them all. After that sermon, I thought some more about the message of that chapter. It talked about negative thinking, which I had never equated to ungratefulness before. I figured my negative thoughts were just triggered by depression and the way I was raised. I blamed my family; they were usually pessimistic, so naturally, I would be too. I blamed my circumstances. It seemed everyone in my life was moving on, getting married, having kids, finding fulfilling jobs, etc. Since nothing was happening for me, I had a right to be depressed and self-pitying, or so I thought. God has something else in mind.

            Instead of trying to reword the author, Debi Pearl’s words, I’m just going to quote a section of that chapter I read: “Most women say they can’t help how they feel. This is a lie which will keep you bound to a wretched life…It is not that one woman has a wonderful life and the other has nothing but misery; it is that one sees life through the eyes of thankfulness and the other through a heart of discontentment. A downcast attitude is a dishonor to God and your husband-to-be.” Ouch! I was talking to my friend, Cynthia a couple months ago about this subject. We decided we needed to stop focusing on the negative in our conversations and thoughts. I have not kept up my end of the bargain. I remember one day in church when 2 different people at 2 separate times told me I need to smile, things aren’t that bad. I’m sad to say that that almost made me feel even more sorry for myself. It’s not easy, but a thankful attitude is a choice, not a condition. So, this is a proclamation to my readers that I need to have a more grateful spirit. No more moping around in self-pity. God has done great things for me, and I should be filled with joy and thanksgiving. As Madam Blueberry said: “A thankful heart is a happy heart, I’m glad for what I have, that’s an easy way to start.” When I get into that state of discontent again, I just need to remember to count my blessings. Let’s all take Philippians 4:11 to heart: “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

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