reclaiming joy - as we are thankful

7:00 AM

Tonight I made one of my favourite dinners. It's a risotto of my own invention with chorizo and sweet potato. It's lovely to make and lovely to eat.
After chopping and stirring and plating it up with a generous amount of parmesan cheese on top, I placed the dish of love in front of my big girl.

For not the first time, she pushed her bowl away.
One look, a groan, and it was pushed away.
I took a deep breath and let out my usual spiel about this being the only dinner and she didn't have to like it but she did have to try it etc. etc.
And then the four of us all joined hands to say grace.
Miss Dinner Pusher volunteered and cheerfully said "Thankyou God" for the food in front of her.
And then she began to eat.

It is no perfect analogy. It was more likely hunger that got the better of her, and she was perhaps spurred on by the hope of mango sorbet, but I like to think that a few moments spent saying thankyou for her food gave a reason to enjoy it.

Being thankful changes our attitude.
What a world of entitlement we live in. We expect what we want when we want it. It's hard to wait because things seem to be able to come so quickly. I feel the tension of looking at fancy homes in magazines without realising that they come at a cost of either years working hard or oodles of debt.
I see it exposed rather harshly in the four year old who would rather her chorizo be not covered in rice thankyouverymuch, but see it more sinisterly in my own desires.

But an attitude of thankfulness lets me look around at where I AM and what I HAVE and be happy for that and in that. The four year old realises (ha!) that she has food when so many children around the world do not and the adult is thankful for the roof over her head, the abundance of clothing and furniture...

Of course these things, though ensnaring are trivial at the end of the day.
When hard times come sometimes it is not enough to just perk up and look at the bright side.

Being thankful puts hard things into perspective. It doesn't make them disappear.
When hard times come and we sit in the bottom of the deepest valley our thankfulness does not rest
on our delicious food or our nice clothes. These things we would gladly trade for a lift out of the mud.
Our thankfulness and our joy (remember that tears streaming down kind of joy) comes from knowing God and his steadfast love.

Psalm 136
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Why are we thankful? How can we be thankful in hard times? Not because of the hard thing.
No way! Sometimes the hard things we go through in life can teach us helpful things but we are
never expected to be thankful for them. How could you?

But we are thankful because of the perspective that God brings.
He is good. His love endures forever.

The psalm goes on to talk about God creating the world, saving his people from slavery, keeping his promise to protect and care for them. They suffer, they wander in the desert for 40 years, they go to war. But one thing, His love endures forever.

And so it gives us a reason to be thankful in the depths of despair because though we suffer, there is one who is loving with an enduring forever kind of love.

Being thankful shows us that we are not in control.
This is true in a big way when we look at the love of God but also in everything else too.
When you say thankyou, you are recognising your dependence on others. That someone did something for you that you either could not or did not do yourself.

I love control. I love planing things and knowing things and working things out.

It's taken me a while but I'm learning to say thankyou in my own kitchen.
I like to do all the things.
Mainly because I enjoy them, but it's a huge joy to let others offer to help and see what a team can do. I find I'm constantly surprised by the little tips and tricks I learn.
I'm constantly overwhelmed with gratitude by the servant heartedness of people.

It's good to learn that I am not the one in control or the only one that can do things.
So good, because it's so so true.
How often do we go it alone and then complain at the end of the day that you didn't get to enjoy the <insert thing you missed while you were being crazy>?

To be thankful is to say that others have extreme value. They have ways to help and things to teach you.
What a relief to know you don't have to do it all! Phew!

But what a challenge!
I know I find it easier to tear things down, to moan and complain and find the reasons why I am hardly done by.

But what joy there is in being thankful.
To look at the world in a new light, to depend on and enjoy the help from others, and most importantly to sit nestled in the joy of knowing God who is worth thanking, for his love that endures forever.

Image Credit - She Reads Truth
For a bible reading plan on the topic of Thankfulness click here or check out the She Reads Truth
app in the iTunes app store.

For more in the series

Reclaiming Joy - As We Remember

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