Happy Thanksgiving! I love this holiday for many reasons:
- We get to eat as much as want with zero fear of judgment.
- We are forced to look past all the negativity in life, and remember what we’re thankful for.
While I could easily write about the joys of food, today I’ll be writing about the latter point. We live in a society where we simply can never have enough. The purpose of today’s blog post is to create more thankful and joyful habits for more than one day or one month or one season, but every single day that we are alive and breathing.
Choose God over Temporary Band-Aids
Shopping can fill a temporary void for me – whether it’s out of boredom, anger, sadness, anxiety, I sometimes choose the excitement of buying something new to put a Band-Aid on whatever negative emotion I’m feeling. This is a very dangerous and slippery slope. When I buy something new, whether it’s a new outfit, jewelry, or maybe even a new fancy phone, there’s instant gratification and excitement. Unfortunately, that gratification quickly fades when the excitement wears off, and then we’re onto the next item. We continue to drain our wallets and fall down the vicious cycle of emptiness.
These habits aren’t just unhealthy for our financial state, but it really has a negative impact on our mental state as well. We are training ourselves to find joy through temporary things, and we’ll continue to fill our emptiness with things, people, or substances that can never give us the lasting hope and peace that we’re so desperate searching for. When we can make it a habit to remind ourselves that God is more than enough, we can begin break these habits and force ourselves into healthier ones.
So, when we find ourselves in our negative emotions, instead of choosing to continue the cycle, let’s force ourselves to choose true healing from God instead of choosing our temporary Band-Aids. We can start by praying and fighting against the “wants” and dwell on the current “needs” that God is taking care of. Then, let’s choose to give back. Instead of investing your time or money into something essentially useless, pour it into the people around us. Give back to someone whose “needs” are greater than our own. Matthew West sings a song called “Do Something” – the lyrics are extremely convicting. We always ask God why He isn’t helping here or there, but we need to remember that He moves through us (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)! I don’t know about you, but I feel genuine joy when I’m able to be just a small part of God’s work.
“Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of people living in poverty; children sold into slavery. The thought disgusted me. So, I shook my fist at Heaven. Said, “God, why don’t You do something?” He said, “I did, yeah, I created you” – Matthew West, ‘Do Something’
Choose God Instead of Striving for Perfection
If ten people compliment me about something, but one person has something nasty to say, guess where you can find me? Stressing and whining about that one person. Why do we do this?! When we do this, we are choosing discontentment. We are choosing to look past all the positivity, and dwell on the negative. Why? Because we are striving for impossible perfection.
Again, I find myself continuing habits that will never be enough to sustain a joyful life. Christ is the only way we can sustain joy. Until we realize that, we’re going to continue to strive for the impossible – leaving us broken and empty. So, instead of dwelling on the negativity and imperfections, let’s focus on being thankful for the hope and peace that comes from God.
Psalm 18:30 – As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s Word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.
Choose God in Your Current Season
I recently took an Instagram poll that was intended for my fellow single friends, and I asked “what questions/comments are you least looking forward to hearing from family members over the upcoming holidays?” Turns out, people in every season of life have to endure the questions/comments they aren’t looking forward to hearing – not just us single folks. These are some of the responses I received:
- Why are you still single?
- Why don’t you put yourself out there more? Maybe even go back to your ex? (insert eye-roll emoji here)
- When do you think he’ll propose?
- Have you guys set a date yet?
- Don’t you plan on having kids soon?
These really hit me… as humans, we are never going to hit a point where we’re simply content with where we’re at. There is always some “next step” that we’re aiming for. Of course it’s important to start taking steps to reach whatever goals you might have, but please don’t let that rob you from the joy you can experience in the season you’re currently in. Choose to take moments to pause and reflect – thank God for all the blessings and lessons you’ve been learning throughout your current season. If we can choose to focus on our blessings instead of stressing about where we think we need to be, we can start to see the joy and beauty of God working in our lives.
While we can’t avoid the questions and comments throughout the holiday season, we can choose to focus on truth:
Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 37:3-4 – Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
1 Chronicles 16:34 – Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.
James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.
Psalm 106:1 – Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Hebrews 12:28-29 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
I pray that all of us can work on these new habits of joy with God instead of filling our hearts with the temporary fixes that will consistently lead to emptiness and disappointment.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!