I don’t intend for this to be the obligatory Thanksgiving blog post. I’ll try to keep it short, but maybe not so sweet.
This is hard to admit, but I’ve had an item on my To-Do list for months. It’s writing Thank You notes. I made a list of people to whom I need to express my gratitude and why. On a table in the bedroom, I have a stack of cards and a roll of stamps at the ready. I spent some time gathering addresses for each of them. I do appreciate them. I am thankful. So what’s the hold-up?
This is not a new issue, believe me. All my life, I’ve resisted writing thank you notes for kind expressions and gifts. Sometimes it’s hard for me to utter a verbal thank you, even when someone has shown a particularly generous outpouring of kindness to me.
Why is expressing gratitude so difficult for me? I’d rather try to find a way to return the favor – to pay them back in kind. Often I fail at this too. Procrastination and perfectionism play a role in this as well. The result is guilt, shame, worry, and at its worst, a resulting avoidance of the person. That’s not how to respond with love to people I truly love and who have shown their love to me.
As usual, things in the natural reflect things in the spiritual realm. I had a hard time accepting God’s gift of salvation. I felt I had to earn it but never reached a place where I felt good enough to deserve it. It took me two years of struggle before I realized that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We never can earn or deserve all that Jesus did for us to secure our place in His family. The gift is free to us, but it cost Him everything.
Thereafter, I’ve struggled with whether I live a life of discipleship and Christian service purely out of love or trying to pay Him back or to continue to gain His favor. Is what I’ve done “enough?” Once again, the answer is “No.” It will never be enough. The abundance of His kindness and generosity to me have been overwhelming. I just have to accept it.
But He removes the guilt, shame, and worry. And He never abandons us. There is a depth of experiencing His presence that comes only through our praise and worship. Expressing my thanks to Him is easy since He is the One from Whom all blessings flow.
My friends and family are His agents. They share out the abundance of what the Lord has done for them. They share their love and generosity with me out of their love for the Lord and for me. I just have to accept it.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
But those verses don’t mean I’m off the hook just because I’ve given thanks to God for my friends and family and their gifts of love. It means I acknowledge the Source of it all. But more than just thinking it or believing it, it must be lived out – acted upon. It means I need to be obedient in heartily serving Him and ministering encouragement to the Body.
Thanks for reading this today. Thanks for being my therapist today. Our session time is up.
I’ve got some thank you notes to write.