Give Thanks In All Circumstances
by Joanne Ellison

This past weekend was a whirlwind. I was behind in everything and needed to play catch up. Although it was good to start out the week having accomplished some needed things, I found myself complaining last night that I didn’t leave room for relaxing especially knowing the coming week would be very busy. My attitude reflected my internal struggle, and to add to my bad attitude, I didn’t feel great all weekend (not COVID friends- allergies:)

So… this morning, in my quiet time with the Lord, we had a chat about my attitude. Well it wasn’t exactly a chat. It was an all out time of repenting. As the sun began to rise, I remembered Paul’s words:

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

Recalling all of the times that I have needed an attitude adjustment, it was thankfulness that unstuck my hard heart. With Thanksgiving in a few days, it is a good time for all of us to take stock of the many blessings we have. This year has been unsettling and it has been easy to fall prey to self pity or struggling to find balance in our lives. My solution was to begin the day with a list of the things for which I am grateful. By the time I finished my list, my heart softened, and my attitude shifted. My suggestion is that this week as we approach Thanksgiving and advent following, we all start a grateful journal.

Thanksgiving Day, is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) at Plymouth with the Wampanoag people. Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings. This year, many people cannot travel due to the pandemic so it is especially difficult to feel joyful, but the truth is our joy– true joy comes from the Lord.

My son is dating a precious girl and I asked him early on why he liked her so much. His answer is engraved on my heart: ” Mom, she has a kind and grateful heart.” I can hear a collective awww….

Precious Summer

A thankful and grateful heart is a rare commodity these days. We all hear a fair amount of complaining and outpouring of anxious thoughts.

But God…

Tells us that His Word brings us joy.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full. (John 15:10)

HIS WORDS…  the words of Jesus, are the words that bring us joy.

HIS PRESENCE….brings us joy.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)

Our circumstances are like shifting sand and our attitudes tend to shift with the circumstances, but Jesus is The Rock on which we stand. Praise and thanksgiving are the tools that adjust our hearts and attitudes. So back to this morning. I began to thank the Lord for anything and everything I could think of, and my sense of well being was restored.

This Thanksgiving week would you consider joining me in daily journaling all the ways in which you are thankful?  Together we can rise up from the ashes of despair, discouragement and doubt (I call those the three deadly “D:”) and become the collective light to the world.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

ps- would love for you to comment on this blog the ways in which you are thankful.

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  1. Carrie Hegenderfer

    Yep, I needed that reminder of what happens when I only focus on the negatives (e.g. processing through a somewhat recent and painful breakup) and got stuck in sort of a Groundhog-Day pity spiral around the circumstances of its end. I have felt my heart subtly harden, but I’m actually thankful that I’m not in that relationship anymore. I’m thankful for a new chance at refocusing on my life, healing the hurts, and taking time to focus on the Lord (even though I can still feel resistance in my spirit, there is much less now). I am thankful for a wonderful family, my flexible work, my dog and constant companion, finding my voice and unburying my creative side, and about every week the Lord brings a new friend or source of support in my life – just when I was sure I would die of loneliness 😉 Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Drawing Near to God

      May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. – Romans 15:13 Have a Happy Thanksgiving, you are a highly favored child of God!

      • Carrie Hegenderfer

        Interesting – that verse and James 4:8 were the same verses in my Jesus Calling devotional today 🙂 Thank you 🙂


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