Do you feel it? There’s almost an unspoken pressure in the realm of Christian social media circles to be thankful for each day you have on earth.
Instagram captions about thankfulness are in style. Do you feel the pressure to be grateful? Have you wondered how to be truly thankful? Are these women genuine or are they faking it?
Don’t get me wrong- you SHOULD be thankful.
You don’t deserve the next breath that you draw into your lungs apart from the fact that God is gracious enough to give it to you. We should be grateful that He has us on this earth to fulfill some important part of His will.
But not every moment, or even every day, is Instagram-worthy. It’s definitely a hard line to find… let alone to walk.
And so often it’s faked. Don’t you feel that in your soul?
A truly thankful soul is hard to achieve and hard to keep.
Here are some tips that I think might help us find our joy in true Christian gratitude along with Biblical references.
How To Be Truly Thankful – Lower Your Expectations
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven… A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
Christians have no problem saying: “I don’t deserve this good life that I have!”… but in reality, don’t we struggle with God? Don’t we ask Him for something greater?
- A marriage free from conflict?
- Children who are obedient to their parents and teachers and liked by others?
- A life free from disease and pain, both for us and our loved ones?
If we believe we deserve all of this, isn’t that pride?
And isn’t this the very death of our joy and thankfulness? Isn’t pride the death of so many good things in our life?
It’s been said that pride was Adam and Eve’s first sin. When the snake suggested to her that God was holding out on her, she latched on to that. Her pride was winning the battle, and she was no longer thankful for the Garden, only ungrateful for what she didn’t have.
That was the day that Eve’s joy was lost.
How To Be Truly Thankful – Give Thanks for the Hard Things
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2
Joy isn’t the opposite of trouble, it’s a choice you can have despite your trouble.
You can choose joy in the middle of a broken family, memories of a painful childhood, or even your own failing health.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, troubles might actually be your bridge to true thankfulness.
How To Be Truly Thankful – Be Humble Towards God
“Look now; I myself am He! There is no other god but Me! I am the One who kills and gives life; I am the One who wounds and heals; no one can be rescued from My powerful hand!” Deuteronomy 32:39
Do you read that verse and cringe a little bit? I used to. My husband is a pastor and he’s preached on this very verse and theme and it’s left me a little out of my comfort zone.
Sundays are emotionally and physically exhausting, and my husband and I take naps after church on Sundays if we can.
I went home and talked to him about it, one-on-one after we laid down for a nap. (Naps with the pastor are not a privilege any other church member has, and for that I am thankful! 😉 ) I asked him… “do you really believe that stuff? That God uses human pain for His glory? Isn’t that a little masochistic of Him?”
In a gentle, sleepy whisper, my husband replied to me, “Sarah… who are you to know better than God? Do you honestly think that you could last even one minute on this earth unless it was God’s will for you to remain? Or that you could rule the heavens and the earth for 30 seconds?”
Then he said…
“We would choose the things that God chooses if we had the knowledge of God.”
God’s heart is good because God is good. And God is love. (1 John 4:16) He’s weaving us into a grand tapestry, and when he cuts our thread or hides our thread behind others… our pride flairs up and we get upset. Because like Satan himself, we think we can do a better job of this “god thing”.
And we can’t. We are sinful and have selfish motivations. We want our thread to not only remain in the tapestry but for it to be the star of the show. For our loved ones to stay on earth, but “Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.” Psalm 116:15
We want our lives to be free of trouble, but “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.
We would choose the things that God chooses if we had the knowledge of God.
How To Be Truly Thankful – Allow God To Use You, Even If It Means That He Will Break You
Isaiah 64:8 “And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.”
Have you ever seen a potter give up on a piece of wet clay? I haven’t.
However, I have seen a potter give up once the clay is no longer pliable or usable.
Don’t allow yourself to dry up. Stay hydrated in the Word of God
God will always use us, the clay, for His purpose. He’s the potter… and we don’t get to choose if we turn into a statue, a vase, a jar, or a plate. We can pray that God will use us for His glory, but we don’t necessarily get to choose our path for that glory. Sometimes that glory is seen in our weakness… in our eventual redemption… or even in our battle with disease, with no healing in sight.
Your Father is using you for great things, and it’s only through His eyes that we can clearly see our place in His masterful plan.
Let’s be thankful for God’s knowledge. Even when we don’t understand it.
Even when it isn’t Instagram-worthy.
What about you?
Is it difficult for you to remain in a place of true thankfulness? What tips would you add to this list that have helped you?
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