This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. A day set aside for us to be thankful. It’s part of our history. It’s a tradition. It’s also a time for family gatherings.
But most of all it’s a time to reflect on God’s goodness to us.
However, it shouldn’t just be one day. We ought to be thankful every day, throughout each day, 365 days a year.
I know this, but I fail miserably at being thankful. Perhaps you do too.
Why is it so hard to be thankful?
Here are several reasons:
We’re too busy.
We tend to think, I’ll take time to praise God when life calms down. The reality is life will never calm down. It only gets more complicated, more intense. We can become addicted to busyness. It gives an adrenaline rush until we crash.
We don’t feel like it. Things are too hard right now.
We assume we’ll wait until we feel like it. Rarely will that happen and often it is when things are hard that we most need to praise God.
We’re lulled into taking things for granted.
Including God’s goodness. As parents we get frustrated when our children do not appreciate things. They just want more. In my relationship with God, I am so like my child. I take God’s goodness for granted. And I don’t want to.
The enemy does not want us to praise God.
Why? Because thanking God is pure worship. And in worship the power of the Holy Spirit is unleashed. According to Psalm 8:2, the praise of children silences the enemy.
When we begin to praise Him our perspective changes. We praise Him for who He is and for what He has done. When we take time to do this we will be enabled to see our current issues more from His perspective as we focus on His mighty power.
Praising God lifts us out of ourselves and thwarts the slippery slope into self-pity.
One day I was in my laundry room trying to catch up on endless piles of dirty clothes. It was a mess. I was a mess–discouraged, overwhelmed, feeling lonely, and a failure as a mom and wife.
Simply put, I was engaged in a self-pity party.
Self-condemnation reared its ugly head. Susan, you should be thankful but you can’t even do that. All of a sudden I noticed a tired old poster stuck on the wall. It read, ”You have made me glad…” (From Psalm 21:6).
This was a pivotal moment for me. In reading these words, I realized that I couldn’t even make myself glad. I had to rely on Him to do even that. My spiritual poverty was far greater than I had imagined. How humbling this was–and yet how freeing.
Now when I don’t feel like being thankful I pray, Father I can’t even do that you without your help. Please make me glad in you. Then I begin in a step of faith to praise Him, and in time He brings my feelings to a place of His supernatural peace. If I praise Him out loud it helps to keep my mind from wandering.
One of the specific things I have been asking God to do in my life this year is to make me more of a person of praise, not just on Thanksgiving but every day.
Want to join me?