November reminds us to be thankful. And, that is a wonderful thing. But, what if you feel like you just can’t be thankful right now?
There is always pressure for believers to: “Be thankful in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). But, that pressure is magnified a thousand times at this time of year. Not thankful at Thanksgiving?! Are you kidding? What is wrong with you?
Pastors focus their sermons on it and social media is full of reminders of our duty to be grateful. There are articles in magazines telling us how to be thankful and there are “thirty days of thankfulness” challenges on Instagram and Facebook where well-meaning friends post things they are thankful for each day (better known as “salt in the wound” to those going through a tough time).
The point is that you can hardly escape the constant reminders of your duty to be thankful at this time of year.
So, what if you’re at a place in your life where you are too angry, too sick, too full of grief or just too broken to be anywhere close to having a thankful heart?
I’m here to say this:
“So, don’t be thankful.”
No, here’s the thing, God knows that it is in our best interest to have a grateful heart. God does not need us to be thankful. He does not grow larger when we thank Him. He does not increase in power because of it. It is us who change when we are thankful.
For one thing, looking for blessings in the midst of our pain, destroys bitterness and doesn’t allow it to grow and consume us. For another, having a thankful heart means that we are focusing on eternity rather than the trials and tribulations of this corrupt world.
But, like any goal worth achieving, we don’t reach it immediately. It often takes countless baby steps to get there. And, sometimes we are just too tired to move in that direction at all.
And, that my friend is okay.
Because, November is just a month. It is no more or less important to be thankful now than in any other month.
So, if you just can’t get there this Thanksgiving, please don’t berate yourself. Ignore all the pressure to be thankful that comes with the arrival of November. Rest your body and your soul and be renewed in the word and the presence of your Lord.
Of course, keep thankfulness as your ultimate goal. But, remember that thankfulness is not a light switch we can turn on. And, if you’re just not there yet, give yourself a break. There is always December, January, February, …
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11