When I’m going through a particularly difficult time in life, I put on my Euchareste0 bracelet given to me by a dear friend. When I would see it, it reminds me to give thanks. Strong’s defines eucharisteo (pronounced yoo-khar-is-teh’-o) this way: to be grateful, i.e. (actively) to express gratitude (towards); specially, to say grace at a meal:–(give) thank(-ful, -s). Thankfulness ushers me into His presence. Ingratitude leads me further to despair. Thankfulness reminds me of what I truly believe about my Heavenly Father: He could be trusted in all circumstances. Ingratitude leads to the false belief that I’m all I have to see me through, counting out God’s presence and help. The painfulness of a solitary journey through difficulties lead me back to Him pronto! Make sure, He doesn’t leave when we choose the opposite of Truth – yet when we walk in unbelief, we are acting as if He’s not there. That, I’ve found, is painful for myself and I believe for Him as well.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 New International Version (NIV) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The Message (MSG) puts it this way: 16-18 Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
Life is difficult, full of problems, challenges, dreams unfulfilled, failures, disappointments. One of the conversations I continue to have with my children is: What are you going to do with disappointments? When things don’t go your way? How are you going to respond? And they think….and I allow them to think. Offering them the opportunity to prop themselves up on the Truth of God’s Word. My prayer is they will choose to lean into God’s Truth to see them through anything.
M. Scott Peck’s take on “life is difficult” goes like this….I think I like it. I want to transcend it. John 16:33 (NIV) puts it this way: Jesus is speaking and says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Several other versions say “take courage” or “be of good cheer.” I find that possible when I’m looking to the One who is with me through it all.
So how can we cultivate this giving thanks in all circumstances – thanking Him no matter what happens?
- Speak out loud your faith in Him – when I’ve found myself floundering in unbelief, I’ve gone back to what I know about Him, and I begin to speak it out loud. And you betcha, other people, especially my children, have been around during this time of remembering who He is to me.
- Handwriting scripture – during the holidays, my boys and I were practicing our writing most days by writing out scripture; it was such a blessing to each of us. We would remember the Truth throughout the day and it would minister to our hearts (well, at least mine – I’m trusting it was in there’s as well). I’ve been meaning for us to get back to it – here is a great resource for that at Sweet Blessings. She has a daily scripture writing plan for each month. If you’re a recovering perfectionist like myself, get yourself a pretty notebook – but if that’s not near TODAY and your heart is needing some speedy recovery TODAY ushering into HIS presence, get a blank piece of paper and get to it! You’ll be blessed!
- Sacrifice of Thankfulness jar – I’ve wanted to try those “Thankfulness” jars during the month of November, or a yearly jar of gratitude. But those are for the wonderful things happening, big or small. Perhaps what we need is a sacrifice of thanksgiving jar, because we’re wanting to practice giving things in the hard spots of life, trusting God to see us through. Then at the end of the year, we would read the slips of paper of the hard things, and recall God’s faithfulness to see us through.
God’s best to you and yours,