By Angie Ketcham
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I have a little conversation with God about this whole “giving thanks in everything” business. He whispers in my ear just what I need to hear when my attitude just doesn’t seem to find its way to thanksgiving. His words of grace echo in my stubborn head and remind me the direction I need to take when this old flesh wants to rebel.
First, there is so much I can be thankful for. A husband, children, a home, a job, food, friends to gripe to that won’t judge me. And I begin to feel a little lighter, and a little ashamed that I am taking these blessings for granted just because I’m stuck in a moment of chaos where I feel like I can’t keep going or it’s all going to fall apart around me, crumbling down to the ground: irrepairable. Because it isn’t about a feeling at all. It’s about a decision. A command for our own benefit. He never promised we’d never have difficulties. But He did still command a decision from us to “count it all joy” as suffering develops something in us of true character that nothing else can. Whether it’s finding ourselves knee deep in dirty dishes, dirty diapers needing to be changed, over-committed calendars, or puddles of our own tears, he has a lesson for us to learn from it still.
Second, God is saying stop trying to control it all and give it back to Him! “BE STILL”, as I remember the words written in my Bible, and reading them at least a hundred times. And yet, here I am, trying to steer the boat, letting the craziness replace the calm I know I can find only in my Jesus. Stillness is definitely an art that must be practiced in order to fully grasp the benefits. I don’t know how to slow down, let alone be still. And control? Letting go of control means trusting Him in this moment and all the moments that created the ultimate breaking point. All He asks is for me to breathe again, reminding myself of the truth held in this verse, “Be still and know that I am God...” Psalm 46:10
Feeling totally convicted and yet mercifully refreshed by His Word, I can no longer stay in a state of self-pity and ungratefulness. I have a new knowledge of who He is and I will choose which thoughts I allow to rest in my mind and those that have to go. I know that I will bring Him glory as I choose to give control over to Him, be grateful in my own mess, and trust that He is working out the details. Give those anxious feelings over to Him and find time to worship in this holiday season. We owe this to ourselves, our family, and, most importantly, the one who calms the storm. Happy Thanksgiving to all you ladies: