The holiday season has arrived, as quickly as ever, with Thanksgiving just one day away. This year, like every year, Halloween hadn’t even passed, but Christmas displays were already begging for our attention at every store and on every TV commercial. This is nothing new. For as long as I can remember once Fall arrived, Thanksgiving and Christmas were begging for attention from every angle. That’s our society – rush, rush, rush. Always pushing us on to the next thing, never allowing us time to dwell on the beauty of the moment.
We live in a fast-paced world, that is only picking up speed.
As we enter into a day of Giving Thanks, how can we slow down? How can we pause and breathe in the spirit of the season, a spirit of gratitude? I have recently seen a lot of influencers on Instagram talking about a “gratitude journal”. A journal where you start your day writing down 3 things that you are grateful for. It is a practice of positive psychology, surely to set the tone for your day – a tone of awareness of the endless blessings around you. When you focus more of your time on your blessings, you don’t have the time to focus on the negative.
When it is all said and done, a spirit of gratitude or thankfulness really is a mental state, isn’t it?
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Paul nailed it. Our circumstances are always changing as the seasons of life come and go. The chaos and the unknowns often bring a sense of loss of control and anxiety. We can give in to the world’s rush, or we can make the choice to lay it all at His feet. Lay down the anxiety, the worry, the fear, the depression, the stress, the anger, and the pain. Pick yourself up with thankfulness, presenting all your requests to God. Let everything else go.
“We can give in to the world’s rush, or we can make the choice to lay it all at His feet”
For awhile my three-year-old and five-year-old would pray everyday, thanking God for our new couch and our newly painted kitchen cabinets. At first it was cute, but when it kept happening I thought I had raised little materialistic monsters that were only thankful for “things”. But, I realized that they were teaching me a lesson. They truly were thankful for these new blessings. They were embodying a spirit of thankfulness, in such a pure way. While I was still complaining about how hard, and grueling the task of painting those cabinets was, they were pausing with gratitude for my hard work.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? What are you holding on to? What are you trying to control? Who do you need to forgive? What bitterness is growing in your heart that you need to uproot?
This world is chaotic enough. Our lives are noisy enough. If you want freedom, a heart overflowing with gratitude, joy, peace, and love… then WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. The burdens of this world will be lifted and you will be restored.