Today is a day where we as a nation, as a people gather around with family and friends and give thanks for all that we have. Most of us are posting and writing on social media our thankfulness for all the many blessings we have received this past year. But I have to admit, that today did not start out with thanksgiving for me. I woke with a plan in my head. A plan on what time to put the turkey in the oven, what time I needed to get the pie crusts made, the pies put together and in the oven, and the time that dinner would be served. I had planned and plotted a day that would work with the schedule I had made for myself. But then everything fell apart about an hour into my morning.
Not only am I a wife, mother, writer, and blogger but I also am the owner of a family run pet care company. This time of year is the busiest time for us. Families are traveling out of town so they call us to care for their furry footed family while they are away. The amount of business that we have received in the last two days has crammed our schedules full to the brim. More and more calls were coming in and I had no choice but to rethink and readjust every single plan I had made. This led my heart to become overwhelmed, frustrated and full of complaining. Then I remembered something my sister had posted on her social media page just a few days ago, and it hit me- I was unthankful and ungrateful before my God.
My sister had posted a challenge for anyone who dared to take it. This challenge was to spend 24 hours without voicing a single complaint. You could not complain about anything. You could not complain about your job, your husband, your children, your life, nothing. Not one single complaint was to come from your lips in the span of 24 hours. This hit me this morning because I realized that, as a Christian, this should be the normal for me. I should not need a challenge to remind me how blessed I am. I should not need a challenge to turn my focus back to Jesus and off of myself. Because let’s face it, when we are complaining about life, our family, our jobs or anything else that matters, we are showing God our ingratitude for the things that He has given us. My complaining and feelings of being overwhelmed were because I chose not to be thankful.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of peace. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15
Thankful, there is that word again. Paul could not have written these words for me at a better time. The Lord showed me today that to be thankful means that I turn the focus off of my lack, my needs and I turn my focus onto Him. I prayed this morning for a thankful heart, and just moments after I spoke those words, my day went from peace to chaos. But the Lord is patient, and He reminds us that we are to be a thankful people- every moment of every day.
Being thankful means that we are mindful of others, we are forgiving, we are kind, we are merciful, and we are longsuffering and willing to bear with the one who has harmed us. My complaining and frustrations of the morning were because I chose to look at my circumstances instead of the One who has them all in His hands. If I want the peace of God to rule in my heart, then I must choose to be thankful. Complaining creates chaos, while thanksgiving creates peace.
Are we truly thankful? Do we understand what it means to be a thankful? On this day where we give thanks for all the riches and the abundance that we have been given, can we honestly, before God say that we are a thankful people? Paul writes that we are to put on these tender mercies and other characteristics of Christ listed because we are the elect of God, holy and beloved. Knowing this and living this are two different things. But we must. We must turn our focus back to the Lord and know that He is the giver of all that we have and all that we will ever have. We have because He gives. My complaining and my frustration only prove to Him (and me) that I truly am not as thankful as I thought I was. The more I complain about my life, the more I see that He has not become enough for me yet. Because if He truly was enough for me, then what would I have to complain about?
That challenge that my sister posted has shown me that over and over again I live with an ungrateful heart. Every time I complain in my words, and yes, even in my thoughts, I have told God that He is not enough. These words have cut me to my heart this morning, because I see the sin that I have buried deep in its core. I have sinned because I have complained against the God who loves me, and gave Himself for me. I have sinned because I have complained about the people He has placed in my life. I have sinned because I have complained about the work He has provided for me. I have sinned because I have complained that His love is not enough.
It is my prayer today that as we sit and give thanks, that we would truly look within our hearts and see the sin of ungratefulness and the sin of complaining that is within. I pray today that God our Father would give us hearts of thanksgiving, not just today but every day. I pray that we would see the blessings, even though our hearts desire to see the lack. I pray that we would see when our hearts have turned to complaining instead of praising. I pray that today and every day in between, that I would become a child of thanksgiving, for my Savior who died for me. May your day be filled with thanksgiving. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.