Thankfulness, The Great Protector
Why write a blog centered around the notion of thankful living? What is so compelling and transforming about a thankful spirit that I would go to all the work (and yes, it’s a TON of work!) to create this platform to share? Simply put, learning to respond with thankfulness has produced the most amazing change in my own life and those around me that I’ve been compelled to try and spread it around!
Beyond that, I’ve been moved to share out of genuine concern and desire to help so many who seem to tirelessly chase after joy and a sense of stability. Can you relate? It’s exhausting and draining of all peace. So here I am, with what has been a real solution for me – thanksgiving. And I guarantee that it is a REAL solution because God’s Word says so. I love a sure thing, don’t you? If you are child of God, you can take it to the bank. You have everything you need in Jesus Christ to be a thankful person and reap the incomparable benefits that are second-to-none (Eph.1). If you are chasing after joy apart from Christ, then, dear friend, your thankful journey needs to begin with Him and I’d love to help you. Please reach out to me anytime.
It will take me dozens and dozens of posts to unpack all the benefits that thankfulness brings and I so look forward to doing that. But let’s jump in and allow me share the very first of many blessings of a thankful heart. I, like so many women, wrestled with all sorts of emotions after having my first baby. It was then I learned that thankfulness is a great protector.
A protector from what? And how does it protect you?
Simply put, thankfulness shields you from the fiery darts of doubt, anxiety and fear by removing the focus from yourself and putting it back on the Lord. A doubting, anxious heart is one that is seeking control and unable to grasp it. Show me a fearful or complaining momma and I’ll show you one that is trying to control everything in her world. The act of thanking God for all sorts of seemingly unpleasant things and finding blessings that lie within inherently acknowledges that fact that He is in control of all those things. You may acknowledge His sovereignty with your mouth, but the expression of fear or complaint evidences your doubt of Him in some way. Perhaps you doubt He sees you. Perhaps you doubt His goodness or power to help. Whatever it is, that doubt will drive an even wider wedge between you and the tranquil heart you so desire.
On the other hand, a heart that is protected by thankfulness, singularly focused on and submitted to the Lord will experience direct ministry from the Holy Spirit (Is. 26:3). In response to my obedience to give thanks (I Thess. 5:18), I noticed several things that I found very protective against fear, doubt and complaining. First, He taught me more of Himself and allowed me to see even more blessings than I originally thanked Him for. Second, His teaching ministry confirms my faith. Third, counting blessings helps me objectively evaluate my circumstances in light of truth. (I plan to do a whole post just about Phil. 4 and thinking on whatsoever things are TRUE. Reality is really important in the battle for a peaceful mind.) In future posts, I hope to unpack all sorts of good things in each one of these points, but for now I’ll let you go with one very practical result from thankful living.
Simply put, the discipline of focusing my mind to be thankful and find blessed provision in every part of my day was/is alot of work. It requires such mental focus that practically speaking, all those unwanted thoughts of fear and doubt just don’t get my mind’s energy. I think the Lord blessed my efforts to seek and find. I found bits of blessed peace, contentment and joy that slowly encouraged me to continue. And then as time when on and I continued to live thankfully, this disciplined mental effort became a lifestyle which I now eagerly share with whoever will listen. Stay tuned for lots and lots of real examples.