Thanksgiving and Pity-parties

Wow. I feel like a terrible human being right now. I think getting my thoughts out might help, but is it right to inflict them on others? I guess I’ll find out.

So, you may be wondering why I feel so terrible, and the answer is that I am in a bad mood. I’m feeling discouraged about several things, and really just want to have a good old-fashioned pity-party. Of course, we all have rough days, so that in itself does not make me such a horrible person. The thing that has solidified that title in my mind is that it is the day before Thanksgiving. How can I be in such a bad mood just when I’m supposed to be grateful? I have SO much to be thankful for, and yet here I am feeling the need for a pity-party about things that are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I know people suffering far worse circumstances than I can imagine, and I feel guilty for my own discouragement about seemingly trivial stuff.

And yet, the feelings remain. The choice I have, not only today or tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day, here in the United States), but everyday, is to either focus on those things and tell God how discouraged I am, OR to focus on Him and remind myself how awesome He is. It isn’t always easy to keep my eyes focused the right direction, but it is possible. When I doubt that, I think of David. I heard someone refer to the story of David and Goliath once, saying that we should not tell God how big our giants are, but tell our giants how big God is.

I love the story of David. He screwed up royally on several occasions, (even committing two of the sins many people would put at the top of the “bad sins” list – murder and sexual sin), and yet he is still the only person in the Bible referred to as a man after God’s own heart. I think one possible reason for this is his brutal honesty with God. He had no problem telling God exactly how he felt about his circumstances, and he certainly had his share of nasty situations to endure. The Psalms are full of David’s complaints, many of them  legitimate; but those same Psalms are also full of his faith and gratitude for all that God had seen him through.

One chapter that comes to mind is Psalm 13. David basically accuses God of forgetting and forsaking him, and says that if God doesn’t answer he’ll “sleep the sleep of death”. Then, he ends the Psalm with these words in verses 5-6(NASB): “But I have trusted in Your loving kindness; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 27 finishes with: “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.” (verses 13-14, NASB)

David knew that no matter what happened in his life, how bleak the picture seemed to be, that God was still good – and He still cared. We can have the same assurance. Yes, I’m feeling a little down today, and some of the things I’m working toward feel unattainable. So what? Without God, those feelings could be true. The choice I’m making today is to be thankful that, because of Him, those goals can be reached. I will see His goodness in the land of the living – even if the results don’t look like I have imagined. I don’t have to sit and dream of the time when I will finally die and go to heaven so that I can see Him. He is here, at work in our lives, if only we will choose to see and partner with Him.

Thanksgiving is not about ignoring discouragements, sorrows, or disappointments. It’s about choosing to focus on all that we have to be thankful for, even in the midst of those things. I want to live every day (not just the 4th Thursday in November), filled with gratefulness for all of the blessings in my life: family, friends, relationship with God, provision, my “job” and the opportunities it brings, and life itself. Each of those things could be separated into countless other things to be thankful for too.

So, I guess I’m not such a terrible human being, after all. I do have bad days, but today I’m choosing to focus on the positive and thank the Giver of all good things for all His many blessings!

What are you thankful for? Leave your answers in the comment section below…


One thought on “Thanksgiving and Pity-parties

  1. Barbara Tripp says:

    I’m thankful for you Stephanie for reminding me to focus not on how big my giants are but on how big our God is


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