On Being Thankful

Recently I was thinking about how much life has changed over the last several months, and how — thanks to COVID — we’re each discovering in our own ways how little we actually have control over.

It made me think of all the things I miss from “before”:  worshiping together in one location, sitting in a crowded stadium watching the Packers play football, laughing with family at one dinner table (and not over Zoom). At the same time, I realized how little gratitude I had for all those things when I had them.  How I rarely, or never, felt and expressed true thankfulness.

I think there may be a direct connection between how much control we think we have over parts of our lives, and the measure of our gratitude. Think about it. It’s simply impossible to be thankful or grateful to someone else when you think you’ve accomplished or experienced something all on your own merit.

If I think I have total control over the things in my life, then I’m it. There is no one else to thank. But friends, let me tell you: Every human being is a debtor. And until I admit how little I have sole control of, and how much difference others have made in my life, I’ll never truly be able to express appropriate gratitude.

Unfortunately, that’s what happens too often in my relationship with God. Saying thank you, showing gratitude, acknowledging God working in my life and the lives of others… How many opportunities have I allowed – continue to allow – to slip by?

Think about it. What gratitude and thankfulness is going unspoken in your life right now? How can we heighten our awareness of just how blessed we are, and then live out our gratitude? Pray with me…

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My Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessings in my life. Thank you for providing me with wisdom and discernment in unsettling times. Thank you for providing me with strength and courage in frightening situations. Thank you for wrapping me in the reassurance of your love through scripture, and the working of the Holy Spirit through others during times when I think I’m completely alone. God, thank you. Jesus, thank you. Holy Spirit, thank you. Amen.