Thanksgiving Sucks.

26 Nov

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERANo, I’m not talking about the weight I gain in the weeks surrounding the holidays.  I’m not upset because my team lost.  I am not referring to my relatives who although I love dearly, always seem to say something to set me off.  I am not really talking about the holiday and all its fanfare at all.

No.  I mean what the title says.  Thanksgiving sucks.  The process of giving thanks to God when you are in the midst of pain simply sucks.  Life is hard and the twists, turns, and bumps along the way haven’t passed me by, so saying thank you when there are other things that I want to say to God, make things a little awkward.

I know this is the time of year when I should be thankful.  I even started the daily list of things I was supposed to be thankful for.  However, it didn’t work out that well.

The Bible says that a joyful heart is good like a medicine.  I believe it, but I also know that sometimes medicine tastes terrible.  As a dad of three young boys, I know that medicine often goes out faster than it goes in.  A spoonful is often enough to make them gag, and sometimes I have to force myself to be thankful.

So I began to think about the medicinal purposes of giving thanks.

1.  Giving thanks helps me remember God’s faithfulness.  Lamentations3:22,23 says, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”  Lamentations is not a book of praise (like Psalms), but a book of sorrow.   There are many times when I have seen God’s faithfulness to me and my family.  Forcing myself to remember those times is like a little medicine.

2.  The process of thankgiving forces me to look beyond the difficulties in my life, and focus on the positive.  While not everything is perfect in my life, there are some blessings that he has given me.  Focusing on these things, lifts my spirits and keeps me moving forward.

3.  The process of being thankful makes the good even better. Facing the storms of life teaches us to savor the good.  If our life were just filled with rainbows and sunshine, then I don’t know if we would appreciate it.  Reflecting on the good is like savoring a delicious meal.  You can inhale it, or take time to reflect on it.  Sometimes I rush through the good.

But another problem exists.  Just knowing that the medicine is good for me doesn’t make it go down.  Sometimes my gag reflex causes keeps it from going down.  In this process of thankgiving, my gag reflex goes off because I feel inauthentic about being thankful when I’m hurting so deeply inside.

We all have times when we are hurting, or angry with God, and while it may be okay to be angry with God, these are not the only emotion that we should have towards God.  Even in the midst of hurt and anger, I have other emotions.

The duality of my emotions doesn’t mean that I’m being inauthentic or hypocritical.  It means that I am a complex human being with feelings, emotions, and beliefs.  I am a reed that is easily shaken in the winds of life, and that is unable to withstand alone in the storms of life.

I cannot wait for the pain to leave before I give thanks.  God calls us to be thankful in all circumstances – even in the midst of pain.  So while thanks giving sucks, it is also medicinal – getting me to a different perspective and place in life.

If you’re in the midst of pain and you find that thanksgiving sucks.  Do it anyway.

And if you think I suck, that’s okay.  I am too busy giving thanks for other things.

David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  He will spending Thanksgiving with his family in the frozen state of MN, but is looking forward to the day when God calls him to live in a warmer climate.  So if you know of a job that pays more than writing, please let him know at gdavid@earesources.org.

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