Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Amazing Attitude-Changer that is Thankfulness

I confess that one of my favorite holiday movies to watch—an annual tradition for me and my husband—is White Christmas. I love the cast, and the songs of course. But the scene I'll put down the present wrapping to watch is when Bing Crosby's character begins singing Count Your Blessings.

At the risk of sounding trite or cliché, I do highly recommend this practice. I think it's one of the reasons God instituted the various feasts with His people—to help them remember what He's done.

I've found when I'm walking through difficult places in this "journey of faith" with the Lord, recalling to mind what he's done in my life, and thanking Him for it, helps to renew my faith and strengthen my trust in Him.

Not only that, but it seems to lift me out of my own perspective, broadening it a bit, till I see things a little more through God's eyes.

Sound presumptuous? Consider this…

In 1 Corinthians 2:13-16 it says, "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ." (NKJV)

And in John 14:15-17, Jesus says, "If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you."

It's one of the wonderful benefits of being a Believer in Jesus Christ; His Spirit to guide you.

Granted, it's not easy to "be thankful" when you're discouraged. In times like that, I've just been honest with the Lord—tell Him exactly how you feel—He can take it, and actually, He wants us to be truthful before Him. Somehow, just pouring out your heart to God (knowing He, more than anyone else, understands your heart and your mind) really helps to bring me to that place of calm, where thankfulness comes more naturally.

After all, King David seemed to write quite a few psalms that cried out to God in difficult places with undisguised honesty, but he always seemed to return to praising God for His greatness.

I know this has not been an easy year for many. If that's been your experience too, try "counting your blessings" a little, and see if tracing God's fingerprints in your life doesn't bring a lighter heart and countenance.

Happy Thanksgiving!