In Everything…

Hey Everybody! It’s Thanksgiving week if you’re reading this in the USA, as many of my readers are. Thursday, November 25, 2021 is a national Thanksgiving Holiday in the USA. However, I’m afraid it’s recently almost been eclipsed by the next day, Black Friday, in which we are all encouraged to go shopping and celebrate our dissatisfaction with what we have and our greed for more! Anyhow, Happy Thanksgiving!

In May and June I wrote a series of Blog Posts on Gratitude and Thankfulness. (I’d be happy to send you the links to those posts. If you’d like them, just reply to this post and I’ll email them to you.) Today, I’m adding one more thought about Thankfulness to the already overflowing pot, but I don’t think this will waste your time. This is not another “should do” emphasis to make you feel guilty if you’re not overflowing with Gratitude today! Please don’t let my words add to your burden! What I’m writing about here is one thing that I’m learning about Thankfulness and I think it will be a good thing for us all to think about this week.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

I’m learning that you can be thankful IN everything, without being thankful FOR everything!

Every one of us is somewhere on a spectrum that ranges from “It doesn’t get any better than this!” to “This really sucks and I just don’t think I can take it any more!”

In our family two of the “In Everythings” are Cancer and COVID: Cancer, first for Stephanie (Latest tests are looking good!) and then for me. Latest tests show my treatment is holding back the cancer’s growth and we now have a date (February 2, 2022) for a Stem Cell Transplant! Then COVID for the limitations, cancellations, frustrations, delays, losses, and for the separations and divisions it has brought among extended family, friends, and churches. But these are our “In Everythings” at present.

I know you’ve got your own set of “In Everythings” and you’re dealing with them the best you can!

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV)

Remember, it’s not “FOR” everything give thanks. It’s “IN” everything give thanks.

It’s not being false and hyper-spiritual and saying silly stuff. It’s looking for the good in the bad, the beautiful in the ugly. And then intentionally, and sometimes with great effort and determination, focusing on the good and the beautiful. And being thankful for the good in the midst of a situation that includes things that are not good.

When I look back over the years the most thankful things I remember have not always been the easiest things! The greatest challenges have resulted in the greatest progress in my maturity, attitude, and character! The greatest challenges have resulted in the greatest Gratitude to God! I love it when things go smoothly, but when I face challenges and God comes through, sometimes the Gratitude is almost overwhelming!

In the midst of a situation that includes pain, loss, uncertainty, and confusion we can choose to focus on the good: The kind words of others, the kind and caring actions of others, things that we still have, things that offer a glimpse of hope. We can focus on good readings on the lab work, rather than on the fact we have the disease. We can focus on the energy we have rather than on the energy we’ve lost.

It’s not “FOR” everything give thanks. It’s “IN” everything give thanks.

I’m learning. I don’t have all this stuff worked out so that there’s never a moment of angst or fear or loss. I’m learning. And I’m well aware that I haven’t faced all my “In Everythings” yet. There may come an “In Everything” that’s way beyond my pay grade. But I’m learning. I’m getting ready for the “In Everythings” that are still ahead by practicing my “Giving Thanks” in the ones that come along.

Practical stuff:

There is an element of “Well, it could be worse!” and some “Glass half full or glass half empty” thinking in all of this. But one thing I’ve learned about Thankfulness is that it has to be expressed in some way. When we look for the thankful things amongst the “In Everythings” of life, when we search for them, identify them, then we can call them out by saying “Thank you” to God, to other people, to our own anxious souls, something powerful and transformational happens.

This comes more naturally to some of us than to others, but I recommend you make a conscious decision to “In Everything Give Thanks”. Then start to do it…

    • Look for the thankful things.
    • Identify them when you find them. Name them. Call them out.
    • Express your Thankfulness. Say thanks. Thank God. Thank people.

Let your giving of thanks in your present situation prepare you for the giving of thanks “In Everything”. You and the people you love and influence will not regret it!

As always, I’d love to hear from you and I welcome your comments and questions. If you’re reading on the blog, leave a comment below. If you’re reading from the email, click “Reply” and tell me what you’re thinking.

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