Squished somewhere between Halloween, Election Day, and Christmas is this whole season of Thanksgiving, also known as turkey day. In truth we should probably be engaged in thankfulness all year long. Everyday is Thanksgiving when you’re a Christian.
Trying to cultivate that attitude of gratitude is a powerful spiritual weapon, it can really change your mood, your perspective, the way you approach challenges. I sometimes say God constantly gives us presents, everything from breath to a good cup of coffee, and then our brains tend to gloss over all these gifts and zero right in on the negative.
Not only is that really disrespectful towards God, it makes us miserable too! Can you imagine what it would be like if we gave someone a dozen gifts and they just ignored them all, never said thank you, and just started complaining? That’s horrible! But I am laughing here, because there are none so blind as those who cannot see! I have mistreated God exactly like that, without even being aware of it. Here I am sitting on a mountain of blessings, a stack of presents so high, and yet I can hardly see them, and I’m still praying desperate prayers, as if God is far away.
Sometimes I imagine God scratching His head, looking down at me and wondering how He could possibly give me anything else without actually crushing me in an avalanche of gifts, kind of like my kids on Christmas morning. Sometimes I imagine God saying, if I turn the blessing tap on any higher, this woman is going to drown! What I often perceive as a tiny drip of goodness, is actually more like being blasted with a fire hose, but we don’t realize it without gratitude and thankfulness opening our eyes to the truth.
What we praise, take note of, and focus on, will often multiply in our life. When we focus on scarcity and what we don’t have, what we “don’t have” often just grows bigger. God is abundant, plentiful, there is more than enough, so much that you will be pressed to share, to give some away.
So today I’m grateful for freewill, and for the fact that this concept actually rests easy in my mind. Many people really struggle to try and understand the landscape we are living in, and then get all tangled up in great debates about predestination, predetermination, freewill.
One of my least favorite sayings is, “I am the captain of my soul and the champion of my destiny.” Gah! That one drives me nuts. Yes, it is true somewhat, a great encouragement if you are trying to clean out the garage or something. But we don’t pick our parents. We don’t pick our genes. We don’t chose what part of the world to be born in. We don’t control the generational curses we may struggle with. We don’t determine what health challenges we face. We did not create the whole world. Many of our circumstances come upon us outside of our will. We alone cannot conquer death. We cannot save ourselves.
But freewill, what a gift that is! No matter what comes at us, no matter what we face, and no matter what trouble we get our own selves into, we always have a choice about how we are going to respond. If you think about it, how we respond is really the only gift we have to give back to the Lord, and how we respond should always be heavily laced with thanksgiving and gratitude.
Somebody smart recently quipped, “we are totally saved by works, the works of Jesus Christ on the cross.” Well, there you go.