Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. For what? This year, it may seem like very little. Or maybe it’s a lot, depending on our perspective. Are we completely overwhelmed by our circumstances or has life been pared down enough for us to see what’s really important? Our ability to give thanks depends on the focus of our eyes.
2020 has gotten a bad rap, even become a meme. And, maybe rightly so, if our focus is on this world. But in a year like this, it’s that much more important to look up. A drowning person can’t look down and survive. Are we choosing to be overwhelmed by our physical circumstances, or by the goodness of God? May we stop drowning His heart for us in the flood of our disappointment.
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20a, emphasis mine). Gratitude changes the actual chemistry of our brains, as does ingratitude. When we’re ungrateful, something quite literally dies in us, whereas gratitude sparks new and healthy neural pathways… new life. As difficult as it may be, this Thanksgiving I choose life. I choose blessings. I choose love. I choose listening. I choose holding fast with all my might. I choose the Lord.
2020 is not my life. The Lord is my life. When I think about it this way, 2020 has been an incredible gift to me. For me, this year has seen an unbelievable amount of grace, a taste of the fruit God is growing in me, an understanding of God’s acceptance of me in my mess, the breathtaking redemption of relationships, a softening and shaping of my heart, a deepened connection to the heart of my Father, a hunger for the Word and presence of God, a letting go of exhausting control, a deepening trust, a love for the heart God created in me, an increase in prayerful authority, a re-ignition of hope long lost, and a vision for the future I wouldn’t dare to dream before. Life has certainly been difficult this year, sometimes even unbearable. There have been many times that it felt even worse for me than other years. So this is not a happy-g0-lucky post full of false positivity. You know that’s not me at all. I tell you the truth when I say I’ve been to the depths and back this year. Without Jesus, I couldn’t have made it. But looking back with freshly-healed vision, I can see that 2020 has been one of the best years of my life. How can I possibly say that? Because nothing is impossible with God. He can use a year that feels like hell on earth to accomplish immeasurable good if we’re willing to let Him do it and open our eyes to see it.
While it would be easy to look back on this year with curses, will you join me in choosing blessings instead? Will you choose life today? Will you give thanks this Thanksgiving 2020? Might this be one of the best worst years of our lives? I pray for soft hearts and unveiled eyes and I give thanks to God for this good, hard year.
“…we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:12b).
Amen. Let it be so. Thank You, Lord.