I’ve been thinking about the year ahead and what I want to focus on, and I keep coming back to Thanksgiving. Since reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp a year ago, I have seen what an amazing difference being thankful for God’s blessings makes in my experience of joy.
It keeps me focused on What Is, instead of What Should Be.
It reminds me that because of God’s intimate involvement in my life, my cup can always be full.
It satisfies me with God’s goodness (Jeremiah 31:14).
It enables me to love and serve others from a place of abundance and contentment, giving new meaning to ‘natural overflow.’
It highlights the grace that God provides even in hard situations and challenges.
It turns to me the ultimate thing to be thankful for, the reason why I have God’s favor and not His wrath – Christ’s death in my place and resurrection to eternal life.
Despite of all these benefits, it’s hard to remember to give thanks. Left to my own devices, I always run back to being consumed with The Way Things Should Be, which is really just me saying that The Ways Things Are isn’t good enough. Whether those ideas of ‘should’ are born from discontent with all that God freely gives, or an attempt to make my life conform more to the Christian ideal, they all lead to the same place: Guilt. Condemnation. Bondage.
Giving thanks for the reality of life is the freedom from that.
In giving thanks, I recognize God’s sovereignty in my life. I rest in the knowledge that He has created me to be who I am, given me the life that I have and provides sufficient grace for all that He calls me to. Who am I to say that things should be different?
Really, thanksgiving paves the path to contentment in God, and enables the full living of life in the moment, no matter what that reality entails.
So to practice thanksgiving regularly in 2013, I’m taking Ann Voskamp’s idea of writing down 1,000 gifts and tweaking it a bit.
My one goal is to write down one thing each day that I thank God for.
I plan to write it down at the end of the day or first thing the next morning, when I can reflect back on the day and be reminded of the ways God blessed me.
“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4-5)