Christian Therapy: Being Thankful (Part 1 of 4).
Greetings. As we approach the holiday season and especially my favorite time of the year, Thanksgiving, I thought I would invite you to reflect upon the importance of thanks. My hope is that you will find a way to cultivate a heart of gratitude.
I don’t know what words you would describe or define what being thankful means to you. I know that when I am thankful, I acknowledge that I have received a gift, I recognize the value of the gift, and I appreciate the intentions of the donor. The benefit, gift or personal gain for me might be material or emotional or spiritual. Being thankful means an acknowledgement of goodness in one’s life and recognizing that the source of this goodness comes or lies outside of the person. Someone or something outside of you just wants to give you a good gift.
So when we reflect upon 2014, I want you to think and remember what gift have you received this past year in which you do appreciate the person who has given it to you and you can acknowledge the intentions of the donor. For the sake of this blog, I want you to reflect upon gratitude in your spiritual, material, relational or emotional life.
The first area that I want you to consider when it comes to being thankful is to answer this question: Who are your cheerleaders? I enjoy watching sports and I enjoy the fact that cheerleaders are always cheerleading no matter what the score is or what is happening to their team throughout the game. Cheerleaders are for the team and believe in the team. Their goal is to be a cheerleader rooting on their team to win or play hard.
Just like a sports team, we all need to have cheerleaders in our lives. We all need to hear, feel, be supported and encouraged by something or someone outside of ourselves. We all need to know that how we are doing or what we are doing is going to be loved and supported by people who don’t look at our performance but just look and observe what we are doing and just what to cheer us on.
If you were to interview a cheerleader, they would not say that their cheering is condition on their team winning or not. The team does not have to perform for them to determine if they are going to cheer or not cheer. All they want to do is cheer, yell and encourage their team to be the best that they can be and to try to win.
So who in your life can you be thankful for who is cheering you on? As a Christian, I would remind you of the God of Grace. You see, grace says that God is for us and not against us. God grace is recognizing God is our biggest cheerleader as he is helping us to win. God did not create us to be defeated and discouraged and to feel like we are going to lose or be a loser.
To cultivate thanks at this time of the year is to begin to look back at this year and answer this question: Where have I see and experienced the grace of God, his unmerited favor in which He really is on my side being my biggest cheerleader desiring good and not evil? Second, where have you see or experienced God’s favor and grace in which you did not have to earn it or perform for it but God, out of his love for you, freely bestowed blessings or positive favor in 2014?
To be thankful has to start with Grace. This means you recognize and cultivate a need for God’s grace and favor in your life. Because when you know that God is for you, and not against you, than you will be thankful. Thus you can say to the God of Grace: Thanks God for giving me good health; Thanks God for providing my needs and not my wants; Thanks God for providing resources like cars and food to get me through the day; Thanks God for giving me time throughout the year to exercise so today I am 25 pounds lighter.
So I want you to cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving by looking back over 2014 and writing down how the God of Grace has been your biggest cheerleader and has been on your side providing freely what you cannot give to yourself. Embrace His grace and His favor and be thankful. If you need help being thankful, please give me a call. Thanks for reading.