As we enter into November, the Facebook 30 day Thankfulness Challenge has begun. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is a challenge to write about something you are thankful for to spread awareness of the need to stop and give thanks.
This may be easy for some people, but what if it is not that easy for you.
I am thankful for my family, friends and good health but let’s face it, we all have those days or seasons when gratitude and thankfulness are the farthest thing from our mind.
Life may have thrown you a curve ball, or you are going through some junk that you would rather avoid, your discouraged or you are in some kind of pessimistic funk. At these times, is it possible to be thankful? I believe so.
What I’m about to tell you is not a magic formula or rocket science, yet it goes against everything we feel and it’s all about application.
When I am struggling to be thankful, I have found it is helpful to just be still and check my heart. Instead of plowing through the day feeling justified in my unthankfulness, I stop and ask God to show me what is going on in my heart.
Unthankfulness is a heart issue that can be rooted of fear, anxiety, anger, selfishness, jealousy, lack, betrayal or even the belief that God just isn’t good — especially to you. These things will color your perspective and cause you to sink into a pit of discouragement and depression if they are left unchecked.
The title of Psalms 100 says From Tears To Praise: A prayer for those who are overwhelmed and for all the discouraged who come to pour their hearts before the Lord.
If you read this Psalm you can see the psalmist is checking his heart, he is bringing it before the lord and emptying out the pain, discouragement and hurt that he has been carrying around.
Your body was not designed to carry and arbor these types of feelings — and thrive. Yes, some of those feelings are inevitable, but it is how you respond to those feelings that will set your perspective about thankfulness. Do you hang on to them and let them fester or do you give them over to God?
The psalmist empties his heart to the one person who can handle his pain and discouragement, but he doesn’t just stop there. In verse 12 he says, “I remembered that you, O Lord, still sit enthroned as King over all.” He remembered who God was!
When you remind your heart who God is, you get your focus off of the problem and on the provider of true joy, peace and hope. When we do this we open our heart and mind to be filled with thankfulness.
I suppose you could choose to just stay unthankful and not deal with the heart issue, but what you really miss out on is the peace that comes from pouring your heart out to God. You miss having your eyes opened to see how many blessing really are surrounding you.
The bottom line is, you can carry in your heart whatever you want to carry. If you want to make the step towards having a thankful heart, then you gotta check your heart first. Let God expose what is really going on in there, when you do, it may not be pretty, but it’s the first steps to having a thankful heart.
To be continued…
One book I recommend that is great for cultivating a thankful heart is