what hinders our thanksgiving
There has been this tugging on my heart to spend more time around this space, to blog more intentionally and write out my heart and my mind. To pause more, to share more, to wonder more, to connect more, to open up more. To write about the important things, knowing that my heart will be changed in the process.
Thanksgiving is around the corner, although it is not celebrated in these parts of the world. But it is quite hard to miss the switch in the topics discussed, that circle around the idea of gratitude and giving thanks — and this time around, it has been hard on my soul. The stress of life right now is heavy. Some days it is a struggle for me to want to take on the perspective of thanksgiving, gratitude seemingly far away from me. This, in all honesty, is a hard place to be in — because I know my heart, that was meant for looking for those glimpses of grace and raising thanks to the One who gives to us so abundantly.
“Thanksgiving is a spiritual exercise, necessary to the building of a healthy soul.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
I have been reminded lately that thanksgiving and a grateful attitude are essentials in the walk of life for us Christ followers. I was making pancakes for dinner one evening and I was reading Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot, these words striking a cord in my heart — that the spirit of greed stifles thanksgiving, whether it is the greed of doing, being, or having.
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)
This, I know, is the trap we so often fall into in our society of more. Some days, it is the need to be frantically doing more — whether it is finding more ministry opportunities, exercising more, spending more time with people, helping or volunteering, making our homes and building our relationships. There is the greed of doing more, always lurking in the background and stealing from us the still moments before our Lord.
My heart is most captured by the greed of being more, the lies of the enemy constantly reminding me of how I am not enough yet, how I should be more already now. There is this restlessness that settles into our souls, always writing down more goals on our “to be” list and forgetting to be in the here, in the now. We see this in the pulling in our souls, the demand for our current circumstances to be something else, something more because we are already now more than this season of life. There is that discontentment with our current positions, giftings, place, people, capacities — because we should, well, be more.
Yet, the most obvious one for us is the greed of having, woven into our societies these days. We have been given plenty, yet we are dissatisfied because there should be variety or more fulfilling experiences or less broken hearts. We carry around the pain of comparison, seeing others with lives so much more perfect than ours and our hearts cry out for the same. There is the lingering feeling, that there should be more to life than this, and the hurt turns into bitterness bit by bit.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)
Yet I keep coming around to the same end point, that giving thanks will always be only good for us. It costs us, that is a sure thing — it costs us our hearts, lost as the Lord transforms them into something more beautiful. It costs us our comfort, as we need to lift our eyes from ourselves into the things of God. It will be painful, too, knowing our sinful hearts and praising our God, the One who gives and takes away.
It might just be the hardest thing in this season, giving thanks when everything reminds us of just how much we are missing. The elections, this pain, these broken relationships, the lost job, the house lost, these never-changing circumstances — it is painful to find gratitude in us. Yet, in our brokenness, we find our meaning as we find our Lord in every moment and in every place.
Linking up: Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings, Modest Monday Linkup, Coffee and Conversation, Wise Woman Linkup, Christian Blogger Linkup, Coffee For Your Heart, Word Filled Wednesday, An Ornament of Grace