This is week 2 of our Thankfulness Exercise. Today, I am going to take time to thank God for His faithfulness to me personally. It is often difficult to separate me personally from my family, but try to do that. Next week, we will include family.
First, let’s look at God’s grace and mercy to us personally
Primarily, the place I need to be most thankful is in God’s grace and mercy to me in providing the gift of salvation. It is a vast gift and embodies so many pieces when we try to dissect it. For more on this, read here, particularly if this concept is not very familiar to you. Take a bit to think God for His grace and mercy to you in salvation. What did He save you from?
Thank God for what He has done in the work of salvation He has done in you so far. Ask for Him to do more.
Of course, those of us who are now in Christ were saved from our sin in general and a life of seeking after our own interests and our own desires at the exclusion of God’s plans for us. We are free to receive His care, comfort, and forgiveness for us as well. But some of us grew up in homes where we can’t remember a time when we didn’t know God because we met Him at such a young age.
While others of us met Him later, often after some really difficult struggles in life. We each have our own areas where we struggle more with sin as well. Some of us struggle more with external, more obvious sins, while others struggle more with internal ones of the heart and mind. Yes, there is a lot of overlap, but you get what I am saying. Some of us are more self-righteous in our struggles, others more obvious and overt like the prodigal son or tax collector. Each is different, neither is better or worse. We just need to be aware of where our struggle is. Write it down and think through some of the ways God has helped you find victory in your area where you most struggle.
As you think over your past, where do you see God’s presence in you life, especially in the difficult times?
For now, sit quietly and think through the memories of your past. For me, that goes a long way back. It may not go as long for you. Sometimes, when we go back, we get in bad habits and forget to see God in the story of some of our memories. Stop and look for Him. Where was He, even in the hard memories. Where did you find HIs faithfulness even if you weren’t sure it was there at the time? Where was His protection? His mercy? His kindness? His care for you? I’m asking this question as a challenge based on this events in the story of Elisha. Take a look at this and think of how it applies to your life. II Kings 6:8-23 ESV
Develop the discipline of being thankful. It is so much easier to find what is wrong in most situations, than what we can be thankful for, or what our blessings have been.
It is a weird thing about being thankful. It sometimes takes discipline to find things to be thankful for. Sometimes, it takes hindsight as well. I remember the years of not having many dates and hated that lonely time. But honestly, now I realize how much I learned during that time. I was growing up in ways I needed to, maturing, developing into the person God needed me to be for life, whether I married or not. Was it disappointing not to have dates for some of those special events? Yes. But I can empathize with those going through similar times in their lives now. I also learned to slow down my pace so I wasn’t running around with a busy social life, ignoring some of the internal things I needed to pay attention to.
Some people can do both. I don’t think I was one of those people. My first couple of years in college, I had lots of dates. I enjoyed it. It was so much fun. But I never forgot what high school was like. I never took for granted that it was my physical beauty or my charm that caused me to have all those dates. (Because I knew it wasn’t!) I also had a couple of scary dates later on that I would never want to experience again. But that is another story all together! From this perspective, I definitely have a different perspective on God’s faithfulness and His protection.
God cared for me in some situations I knew were scary and I’m sure He protected me in some times I was totally unaware. And that was only the physical protection. He also has protected my mind and heart as well. He provided for our family through some times of unemployment too. He provided for our emotional care as well as our financial need.
Write down the stories that come to mind as you think about God’s faithfulness to you over the years. Plan to share some of these stories with friends and family over the Thanksgiving season as you talk about things you are thankful for.
I’m sure you have stories to tell of God’s provision for you in different ways over the years.. He was faithful. In times of difficulty, He cared for you. This is the time to stop and thank HIm. Even in times of prosperity, He cared for you. Sometimes, that is the bigger miracle. Jot down these memories and use them for fodder for conversation over your Thanksgiving meal or during that weekend. It will be encouraging to those you love to hear about. It will be encouraging to you as you share it with them.