Are you somewhat dreading this Thanksgiving with family and friends? Are you finding it hard to be thankful given all relational drama that has been taking place? If you think this Thanksgiving is going to be a bummer, don’t believe it! Here’s why…
When it comes to being a thankful person, there seems to be a myth surrounding this topic. Namely, that one’s ability to be thankful is contingent on their circumstances. For example, if someone handed you $100 with no strings attached you would probably be thankful, right? So your ability to be thankful is contingent on the positive experience of receiving $100. Although this may be partially true, it is not entirely true. Scripture says that you can be thankful in any type of circumstance, positive or negative.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Notice the verse says “in all” circumstances, not “for all” circumstances. There is a big difference. In other words, you can be thankful in both positive and negative situations because a thankful attitude isn’t contingent on your circumstances. In fact, a thankful attitude can take place in spite of your circumstances. That’s right, you can be thankful when life gets difficult, when things aren’t easy, and even when there is relational drama. Why? Because God is still working, He is still faithful, He is still in charge and is accomplishing His will (see my blog post, Why Does God Allow Pain & Suffering?).
Notice the verse also says to “give thanks”. This means that a thankful attitude is something you have control over. Simply put, it is a choice you make and not an emotion you experience. In fact, you can be thankful even when you don’t feel like it! Here is how it works. In order to “give” something, it means you have to be proactive and intentional. It requires looking for things to be thankful for. It requires seeing the positive in a situation rather than only focusing on the negative. This is how you are able to articulate and give thanks. Now make no mistake about it, this isn’t always easy and will require practice. But when you step into the discipline of giving thanks it will not only bring balance to your perspective but it will also help reduce volatility in emotionally charged situations.
So as Thanksgiving Day approaches, don’t believe the myth that circumstances dictate a thankful attitude, you do! It’s your choice! Also, be encouraged that as you trust God and step into the truth of His word, He will provide and make this Thanksgiving Day a happy one regardless of the situation.