Winter is in the air! We may not have had any snow in Maryland yet, but the cold, crisp, frosty air tells us it is coming. The trees have been stripped down to their naked branches, and the gray skies of the impending winter hover overhead.
It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. Thanksgiving is usually a time when friends and family get together to celebrate their blessings. Thanksgiving is generally the busiest travel time of the year.
This year will be different.
Travel plans have been thwarted due to our current circumstances. It has been a strange year for all of us, but even amid crisis and chaos, there is always something to be thankful for every day.
Sometimes, it is Hard to be Thankful
Life has shared its ups and downs with many of us. It has been filled daily with uncertainty. There have been things we do understand and other things we do not understand at this moment, and some things we will never understand this side of heaven.
I wish I could tell you the number of times I have shaken my head in disbelief over circumstances that have completely dumbfounded me. I wish I could have taken the pain from family, friends, and others who suffered losses, hardships, and death of loved ones. There are not enough words to describe a broken heart.
A dear friend shared with me that it is hard to be thankful when you do not feel thankful. I told her she was right because I have been in that place. Chances are, I bet you have too.
Life’s situations can be overwhelming. We are inundated with news media, social media, and television telling us how bad the world is daily. It can suck the life right out of you!
Get Out of the Pit
This constant negativity can take you into a pit where all you would rather do is shut the world out and not let anybody into your space. This pit has the power to keep you trapped in a cycle of despair and hopelessness if you allow yourself to stay there.
How do we get ourselves out of the pit of despair and hopelessness? We quit digging because the more we keep digging in the hole, the lower we go. After my mom died, it felt like I could not even breathe, let alone think about ever being thankful again. But I’ve learned ways to be thankful even when I don’t feel like it.8 Ways to be Thankful When You Don't Feel Like it Click To Tweet
8 Ways to be Thankful When You Don’t Feel Like it
1). Acknowledge Your Feelings
Grieving is a necessary process that we all need in coping with loss, whether it is a death, the loss of a job, financial hardships, broken dreams, cancelled plans or a broken relationships.
There are times we must stop and acknowledge our feelings and allow God to heal us from the inside out. It is only then we have a place to move forward from that we are able to look at the situation from the other side.
2). Remember We Always Have Jesus
This year we have all lost different things. I don’t know your situation, but I can tell you the one thing we haven’t lost is Jesus, love, faith, and hope. We are still the recipients of forgiveness, mercy, and grace. The world would love for us to believe that Jesus has forgotten about us and abandoned us, but don’t listen to the screams of an angry world. Jesus has more for you and me.
3). Start Over by Talking to Jesus
Sometimes, we need a place to start. The best place to start is by talking to Jesus. Tell Him your hurts and fears. Release those things you are holding tightly. You can lose it on Jesus, and He will always love you! By letting go of the past and the pain, you make room for your healing, hopes, and dreams.
4). Lift Your hands and Open Your Heart
Where do we begin? Hands Up and Heart Open! When we surrender ourselves to Jesus, we no longer have to carry the heavy load by ourselves. We have never lived in a perfect world, nor will we until Jesus comes back.When we surrender ourselves to Jesus, we no longer have to carry the heavy load by ourselves. Click To Tweet
5). Be Thankful Intentionally
The act of being thankful is about recognizing and being grateful for what you have every day, not just when life is going well. There are times I have struggled with this concept. It is hard to be thankful when you are hurting. But, I have also learned the best way to get myself out of the pit is to be thankful intentionally.
As parents, we teach our children the importance of saying “please” and “thank-you.” I know how I feel when I have done something for my child. I want to feel appreciated and hear the words “Thank-You.” Jesus has done so much more for each of us. Shouldn’t his death on the cross to give us salvation make us thankful every day?
6). Give Yourself a L.I.F.T
Whenever I feel myself starting to go down the slippery slope, I use this acronym to remind me that Jesus and His truth is the only one who can L.I.F.T me out of my pit.
When I love intentionally, faithfully, and with a thankful heart, it changes my perspective of my circumstances, and it changes me. What I have learned is the only way I lose my heart of thankfulness is when I give my thoughts over to the enemy. I become self-focused rather than Jesus focused. We all need a lift from time to time.
7). Focus on Jesus
This is why it is important to read the Bible and focus on scriptures that encourage and allow Jesus to L.I.F.T. you up, so in return, you can help L.I.F.T. others.
This verse isn’t the typical Thanksgiving scripture, but it is a reminder that our circumstances do not impair God from giving us His peace in every situation.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
What I have learned from my experience is when I choose to be thankful, it honestly does give me peace beyond my understanding. Giving thanks expands my faith because it reminds me of all that Jesus has done for me.
8.) Remember God is Good!
Sometimes it takes hardships to remind us of all the good things God has done for us on our behalf. I love this quote from Mother Teresa,
“When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough”Mother Teresa
My Thanksgiving Prayer for You
God is enough, and my prayer is that I always have a thankful heart not based on my current circumstances, but on who God is to me. As you gather around your table this year, take time to share your thankfulness and L.I.F.T others up. The best way we can show God our love is by demonstrating our gratitude and thankfulness.This Thanksgiving looks a little bit different. If you're struggling to feel thankful, than this is for you. Click To Tweet
P.S. Don’t forget Christmas is coming. Prepare your heart for the holidays with these Christ-centered devotions written by Heather Hart. As one reader put it, They are saturated with Scripture, personal antidotes, and Bible stories that speak to the soul and add depth and meaning to the birth of our Savior.