Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thankful For, Well, Thankfulness!

Back on November 1, when I somewhat rashly concieved of the November 30 Day Thanksgiving Challenge, here's what I was thinking:

1. I was sick of the election news. I could tell my guy wasn't going to win, and my one little vote wasn't going to do any good.

2. I was sick of the economic news. There wasn't a thing I could do about it as we watched our retirement funds shrinking.

3. I was sick of everyone I knew talking about the above mentioned topics ad nauseum when there wasn't anything any of us could do about it.

4. I was sick of being sick about it!!

Then it dawned on me. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 say we are to give thanks in all circumstances, because that is God's will.

It's easy to give thanks when everything is hunky-dory. Why is it God's will that we do so in all circumstances, even the rotten ones we can't control, even the dangerous ones, even the scary ones?

The reason it's God's will is that He knows it will not only change our attitude, it will actually change our circumstances. It's for our own good, not because He's so needy that He needs His people to make Him feel good about Himself.

So, I plunged in. And believe me, it does work. I was given perspective on historical events. I was given reminders that God was in control and I didn't have to be. I began to see little details I had been glossing over. I began to stop and enjoy those pleasant moments that come to all of us in the course of the day- the beautiful weather; the funny thing a small child said; the good snacks someone brought the staff at church; the " 'at-a-girl" pats on the back from congregants; the memory of an issue that used to be a problem, but now is resolved; the phone call from one of my kids. Every single day there is a lot of this small, common, routine stuff, and it's easy to forget what a blessing it all is.

Last Sunday Shannon, who is also writing for a month on thankfulness, posted an article that reinforced the idea that just being thankful can actually change circumstances. I'd encourage you to pop over there and read it. Erin has also described how she is hanging on to thankfulness and her faith as she and her husband try to sell a house in a bad market. Ruth wrote about a health scare that made her appreciate a birthday, and vow to make the most of the time she has ahead of her. Abbie was able to give thanks for a fun surprise. Jena was thankful for a peaceful afternoon on her farm. Melissa expresses her thanks constantly in her posts for the little son she has, that she wouldn't not have if it were not for the experience of healing. Ruchi describes the way her father modelled the importance of thankfulness.

It's fun to go read these posts and realize everyone's story is different, but there are quite a few folks who realize the value of being thankful. Reading them opens my eyes even further to what I could be thankful for.

The November 30 Day Thanksgiving Challenge


Green Bean said...

Joyce, It is a beautiful challenge. I agree that just changing focus can change who we are, how we live. I'm glad you orgainzed this challenge and wish I could have found the time to participate more. As it is, I'm thankful to have had some time to be thankful.

Joyce said...

I'm laughing when you say I "organized" a challenge- I didn't eve think of it until the day I started it. It was really just for my own good, but I thought it would be fun if other people joined in as much as they wanted to. As it turns out, it's been pretty interesting.

Rose said...

How true, Joyce! It's easy to be thankful when you receive a raise, your team wins, or something else good happens to you. But to look more closely at your day-to-day life to try to find things to be thankful for makes you appreciate all that you have so much more.