This is the time of the year when we remember all that we are grateful for which is not difficult for many of us. I can think of countless things I am thankful for and I feel like I can express being thankful for specific situations or gifts or when life just goes the way I hoped. But what I really struggle with as of late is “being” thankful. To exist in a state of thanksgiving. This does not mean that I have to pray to God saying “thank you for this bad situation, my kids acting up, not napping as long as they usually do, my older kids not getting along” etc… the list can go on and on for me. I have a lot of frustrations when my day spirals out of my control. I like control and when I feel like I have a handle on things it is much easier for me to act thankful. I have been struggling and arguing with God when even the littlest of things goes wrong or one of my daughters (6, 3, & 18-month-old twins) is needing me more than I want them to. I do not have to be thankful about my children whining but what I need to remember is that as I continue on with the day I can remain in a space of peace with a heart filled with gratefulness because I am beloved by the Father and I am a part of an amazing body.
It says in Colossians 3:15 that we are to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And to be thankful.” We are a part of one body, so not only do we have God to call on for help but we have a community. Having a community has saved my emotional health these past two years with our twins. I do not know where or how I would be without all the people who help me on a weekly basis. Secondly, Christ should be ruling in our hearts. I can remember a day this past week where I was expressing my gratitude to God and to a friend about how great some of my friends and family were for taking our kids overnight so we had a kid free night! However not even 20 minutes later I was yelling at my older kids for not listening. How could I go from an ecstatic state of thankfulness to being so frustrated and mad moments later? Am I really “being” thankful? How do I allow Christ to rule in my heart? Some of my thoughts towards this are 1. Talk to Him frequently, include Him in my day and my plans. 2. If I am upset try to think of three things I am grateful for. 3. Take a step back and think about how this situation looks from a kingdom perspective 4. Be in His word or listening to His word in some way 5. Be with His children, communing with them and sharing with them your struggles.
Taking a step back is hard for me, because I am so focused on the here and now. I struggle with big picture ideas, I like to make a list of what needs to be done and check it all off before the end of the day. However, in the grand scheme of things my daily to do lists won’t really mean much for the year of 2017. You or I won’t see all the things I got done this year and we won’t see all the things I intended on getting done but never did it. What will be felt, seen and noticed is how I was “being”. Was I responding to situations from a place of peace? Knowing and trusting full well that God has my day planned out and is going to be with me through it all. He will be with you through it all and He will fill you with an immeasurable amount of joy and peace, if you allow Him. What does that look like for you? I don’t know? I know my story and my struggle and I pray that this thanksgiving you would find yourself knowing God’s peace and love. And that this love would spur you into a state of “being” thankful.
- In Christ, Jennifer Sweeney
Please help kick off the charitable season by donating to Global Redemption on 11/28/2017! This is know known as Giving Tuesday. They are entering their 6th year of giving all thanks to social media and people like you! So continue the blessing of giving with us! #givingtuesday