I know you’re not supposed to give thanks FOR everything. That would be just plain weird. I mean who gives thanks for losing a loved one or getting fired from a job or for finding out you have a terminal illness?
But you can give thanks in the midst of those things, if for nothing more than God’s promise to work all things, even those things, together for good for those who love Him.
I’ve learned a few places where you can give thanks that don’t really seem to be places where gratitude is naturally found:
I can give thanks when my job involves long hours and tedious moments because I remember what it was like to not have a job and to not have money and to not feel productive or useful.
I can give thanks when a friend gives up on me or withdraws from me because it makes me not take for granted those who have stuck with me through dark days and low moments.
I can give thanks for delayed pay checks and not having a lot in the ol’ checking account because my eyes are opened once more to true riches of relationships and health and life and contentment and I find that I am wealthy in what really matters.
I can give thanks when the people I care about move away or simply disappear because I learn to treasure the time I am given with the people I am given and to be a blessing to the people in my life while it’s still called today because tomorrow is never guaranteed.
I can give thanks that bad days make the good days better, that rainy days make me appreciate sunshine more, that bitterly cold weather makes me love wool coats and fleece scarfs all the more, and that the meds keep me reminded that am not perfect or normal or self-sufficient but that I am always loved in spite of all these things. No, because of these things.
Gratitude is a habit that is learned one day at a time and joy is an lifestyle of slowing down and opening your eyes to see the small daily miracles all around you called blessings.
Don’t forget to be thankful for those small furry babies who love you unconditionally (even when you step on their tails for forget to feed them periodically or accidentally shut them in garages or closets). I just thought I’d throw that one in for free.
PS I am thankful every day that Jesus never gave up on me until He found me, rescued me, and brought me into His family. I am thankful that my weaknesses prove His strength, my sin shows the power of His grace and forgiveness, and my failures showcase His ability to make masterpieces out of messes.