Giving Thanks When You Don't Feel Thankful

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you.” 
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you've already realized this spiritual principle:  battles are won or lost in our minds. Not in some new-agey way, or mind-over-matter-and -deny-the-reality way, or even in a “power of positive thinking” way, but in a biblical way. 

I had the chance to experience this truth during a time when our family was hit with a series of illnesses. I discovered that it was easy to maintain my focus when one person got sick, or even when one person at a time got sick, or even when everyone but the mommy got sick, but when all of the above happened, it hit really hard. 

One morning during my quiet time, I read 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you.”
I realized that this is where the victory is won—in the choices we make. Being thankful is a choice, not a feeling. I can choose to feel sorry for myself for being cooped up in a house that sounds like  a Tuberculoses ward during an epidemic, or I can be thankful for family and friends who brought by meals and groceries because I couldn’t get out.

I can whine about having to set the alarm clock to give a feverish child a dose of medicine, or I can be thankful for her sweet, softly whispered, “I love you, Mommy. You’re the best nurse ever.”  I can complain about having no energy, or I can be thankful for those times of inactivity when we cuddle together on a couch and read a book because it's is the only thing we feel like doing. I can complain about how long we’ve been sick, or I can be thankful that we will, unlike many, be well again. I cannot control my circumstances, but I can control how I react to them. 

Speaker, writer, and pastor Chuck Swindoll said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.

“It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.”

May we be victorious through the attitude we choose to embrace. In everything give thanks!

Application Questions:

What is the most difficult aspect of your life right now?
Are you willing to give thanks to God for it, trusting that He will use it for your good?

Action Step for This Week:

Post the above quote from Chuck Swindoll and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in a prominent place in your home. Commit to glorify God through your attitude this week.

Prayer of Commitment:  

“Lord, I confess that sometimes my attitude is not thankful or positive. Sometimes I don’t really believe that You are at work in the difficult circumstances in my life. Sometimes I forget that You didn’t come to make us comfortable; You came to make us holy. Help me, this week, to set the example before my children of what it means to give thanks in everything.”

  Homeschooling is HARD!

This post is an excerpt from Lori's new devotional book, Joy in the Journey - Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. 

With a devotion for every week of the school year, Joy in the Journey helps remind you that God wants to be a vital, active part of your homeschool. Each chapter contains devotions specific to what a homeschooling mom encounters each month, application questions, an action step, and a prayer. It's suitable for personal devotions or for use by your support group for meeting topic ideas.

You've invested in wonderful curriculum for your children; why not invest in something for yourself?
To read more about Joy in the Journey and what other homeschooling moms are saying about it, click here.

To order a paperback copy of Joy in the Journey, click here.

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