Thankfulness. This word means something different to many of us. And this year it has taken on a whole new meaning for me.
This Thanksgiving week I spent a lot of time reflecting on what I am thankful for in my life. This past year I have been more intentional to be thankful for the things I have in my life — big and small. As life changes, you begin to realize how blessed you truly are by not focusing on what you think life should look like. Because as it turns out, that’s not usually how life works out!
Sometimes life just doesn’t go as planned. Things are out of your control. And you have to choose how you are going to react to what is happening around you. And reacting with a thankful and grateful heart is one of the biggest blessings you can have. Although it sure isn’t easy!
Through life experiences, I have also learned that God doesn’t only tell us to thank Him when things are good. Actually, He tells us to thank Him all the time, in all circumstances….meaning when things are great, when things are bad and even when things are ugly. And as you experience life and encounter difficulties and suffering, you realize that the song lyrics “I will praise you in this storm” are legitimate and true. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
My Jesus Calling devotional has been really focused on thankfulness over the past week. Each night I have been given a new perspective when I read things like “To protect your thankfulness, you must remember that you reside in a fallen world, where blessings and sorrows intermingle freely.” When I first read those words I thought, “wow that really stinks. Why does there have to be so much suffering in the world? It sure would be nice if all we had to think about was how blessed and thankful we are.” Then I realized what an incredible reminder these words are! In the midst of the darkest times, I still need to remember to be thankful because God works through the sorrow and provides unimaginable joy as “thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity.” Amen to that!
Adversity will come and go, but I am going to continue to choose to be thankful. As tough as it is some days, there are so many things to be thankful for:
- An incredible family –loving and encouraging parents and a sister who is always my biggest cheerleader. And brothers that always stand by my side!
- Friends that share life with me — I couldn’t do it without all of you!
- A wonderful job that pushes me personally and professionally.
- Incredible volunteer opportunities in a city I love.
- Health. Something I have definitely learned this year to never take for granted.
- A wonderful church family.
- And so much more!
Here are some of the reasons I was extra thankful this Thanksgiving:
What are you thankful for this year? Cheering you on to be thankful all the time — when things are good or when you are in the middle of adversity!