Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Thanksgiving Challenge

Vintage Clip art thanks to Karen

With all the brilliant posts out there about Thanksgiving, I'll be honest, I hesitate to even write one. Don't get me wrong. I have PLENTY to be thankful for, and having lived overseas for the past four years, I'm more aware than ever how tremendously blessed we are in this country (that's another post).

Some things are easy to be thankful for, and even seem quite obvious.

  • I have peace and joy thanks to Jesus.
  • There's my husband who brought me flowers yesterday just because he's thankful that I'm his wife.
  • There's Darling Little Redhead who ran around the living room for 20 minutes this morning singing, "Clean up, clean up, everybody do your part" without any prompting from me.
  • And then there's El Principito who smiles more than any baby I've ever seen.
  • Add to that the chance to be HERE with my extended family this year...and my heart is full.
But how do I give thanks for the things that honestly aren't so wonderful? Simple things like ANOTHER sink full of dishes and fingerprints on the coffee table (again)? And difficult things like broken relationships, the loss of a loved one and financial hardship?

For me, it all boils down to PERSPECTIVE. Am I willing to discipline my mind and look at things from a different perspective? Am I willing to:

  • See that another sink full of dishes means that my family has more than enough to eat?
  • Smile with joy that Darling Little Redhead knows how to happily entertain himself with his train set and leaves me reminders (fingerprints)?
  • Praise God that a fractured relationship draws me closer to him and teaches me how to pray?
  • Acknowledge that the pain of loss heightens my ability to feel others' hurts and gives me new insight into how to bless them in the midst of their grief?
  • Recognize that my inability to buy "things" that I want is a chance for my creativity and ingenuity to come alive?

Right now, I am having to discipline my mind to be thankful that I don't have a permanent house here on earth. I sometimes lament that we have lived in eight different locations in our six years of marriage (and are likely moving two more times before our seventh anniversary). I wish I could decorate to my hearts content and just tweak things over the years instead of starting over every year and making do.

But when I change my PERSPECTIVE, I can thank God that I've had a chance to travel the world and meet so many wonderful, inspiring people. I can thank God that I have this lifestyle because I choose it, not because I am a refugee. And ultimately, I can thank God that I have a forever home - and I'm not just talking about heaven, I'm talking about HIM being my daily home (Ps. 90:1).

Now here's my challenge to you today - Discipline your mind to find another perspective and choose thankfulness. Won't you purpose to do these two things?

  1. Identify something in your life that that regularly bothers you or causes you to fuss and complain.
  2. Create a THANKFUL phrase to speak back next time it's filling your mind with discontentment or discouragement!


Becky Aguirre said...

I think I wrote about this before, but when Miguel forgets to replace the bag in the trash, I say, "Thank you for taking out the trash!"...or when the garbage bucket doesn't get brought back inside, "Thanks for taking out the garbage!". It's helped me show gratitude for what has been done instead of focusing on it not being done "right" according my my expectations...I might think of more, but that's it for now. ;)

Jana said...

Thanks for the great post about thankfulness and contentment! It is so easy to only see the bad side of things and not even try to see it from another perspective. Thanks for the challenge. May we strive to see things from a different perspective every day!

Ellie said...

That is a really good idea. I'll have to think about that today. I might get back to you on that one.

"making do" - yeah, I think we could start a whole theme on those two words.... missionary women's life motto!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shilo,
I want to let you know that I read Psalm 90 all the way through and am rejoicing! I think verse one is the substance of what the Lord has been teaching me these last few months (years?). :) But verses 12- 17 i think, is my unuttered prayer right now.
Thanks for your blog, it is a blessing!
Tasha Davis

Kathleen said...

Shilo, what a wonderful post, you are a woman after my own heart. Perspective is one of those precious truths that our Father yearns to give us. I love how you have applied this to your everyday life issues.
From one of your Oak sisters.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to let you know that somehow...I came across your blog very late last night. I appreciate this post more than you know and it has encouraged me to face yet another day away from "home". Thanks doesn't seem like enough for sharing your heart and writing what God laid on it. But "thank you" I was overwhelmed as I read and meditated on what you wrote with God's love and blessings on our life here.


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