Halloween just passed, and the holidays are definitely coming. In case it hasn’t been apparent to you, I’ll give you a scenario: November 1, our whole mall was decorated and Santa had set up shop. It’s like consumer America is telling us to get with the program, already.
But there’s this little thing that comes between those two seasons called Thanksgiving. I know it doesn’t get a lot of the spotlight, but especially as the shopping and gift time approaches, I know it’s helpful for me to not just enjoy Thanksgiving festivities, but really focus on being thankful this time of year.
Much as I want to embrace the attitude, though, there are definitely some things that get my way. I call them “gratitude killers”. They’re the feelings that settle in to take my attention away, and then leave me at best, disgruntled, and at worst, downright cranky. I’m sharing them with you today, just in case you relate.
- Entitlement – Getting caught up in what I think I deserve. When those expectations aren’t met, I get dissatisfied.
- Proverbs 19:21, NIV – “Many are the plans of a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
- Jealousy – It’s about what others have rather than all I have.
- James 3:16, NIV – “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
- Insecurity – The worry that what others think lessens the importance of who I am and all I’ve been given.
- Galatians 1:10, NIV – “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
- Anxiety – The concern over things to come, or losing what I have, makes me forget to embrace the right now.
- Matthew 6:27, NIV – “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
- Discontent – When what I have is not enough.
- Luke 12:15, NIV – “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Now that you know what they are, how do you battle them? By getting the focus off what you don’t have, and getting it back on what you do!
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV – “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- Psalm 118:24, NIV – “This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
- Philippians 4:4-7, NIV – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Some great ways to get your focus back on gratitude? Write a list of things you’re thankful for, say a prayer that is all thanksgiving, write cards to friends and family telling them you’re grateful for them.
For more on the topic of thanksgiving and how powerful it is in our lives and relationships with God, I highly recommend the book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.
What are some things that get in the way of your ability to give thanks?
Scriptures are quoted from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.