We don’t always feel thankful. Sometimes we feel whiny and groanish and all sorts of ugly grumpiness. (Yes, I’m making up words just because I’m in the mood to do so.)
This has been a really rough week for me. Part of me wants to splatter details in a cathartic sort of verbal vomit. The wiser, stronger part of me knows that I can’t. It would prove futile, even harmful. Suffice it to say I feel under attack from many sides. Each attempt to do what is right, to obey holiness in spite of the personal cost or difficulty, has drained me further. I feel beaten and would really love to see a glimpse of victory. Just a small victory. A tiny glimmer of hope that this is not in vain.
Thankfulness is an attitude, not a feeling.
I don’t have to feel thankful to be thankful. I don’t have to feel victorious to know that our God is always victorious.
For the Christian, being thankful is not an option; it’s a command. One that we need to obey, whether we feel like it or not. Why? Because emotions, as creative and useful as they may be at times, are not based in truth. Too often they’re based in circumstance or hormones. But truth is unchanging. It doesn’t shift with the wind like our emotions so often do.
The funny thing is that when we begin to obey this command, when we start expressing gratitude, the feeling quickly follows and before we know it we’re spewing out a river of thanks. Have you tried it? Most of you have probably had the holiday tradition where everyone goes around the table and says “one thing” they’re thankful for. Now be honest: who sticks to the “one thing” rule? Hardly anyone! We all have something for which to be thankful. And once we begin to count our blessings, we soon realize we’re flooded in them.
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.
The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.
— Psalm 95:1–7
YOUR TURN: If you’re not feeling all Norman Rockwell this Thanksgiving, try simple obedience. If you’re already on the gratitude train, leave a comment below about what you’re thankful for to get the rest of us started.