As a kid I always hated when my parents would pull the “be thankful for what you have, kids in Africa are starving.” To my 6-year-old self, it didn’t matter to me if someone had it worse, what mattered was that I was getting rice when I wanted pasta(obvious choice). It never helps when you’re hurting to have someone else say, “well at least you’re not ____ like me.” While someone else’s difficulty may be bigger or more extreme, my hardship is still hard for me. Comparing your pain to a greater pain(while it does give perspective), often encourages a belittling of pain, instead of properly dealing with it. I try to fix myself all of the time. It’s funny how I tell myself that I know better than the God who made me to begin with. I started getting frustrated by being disappointed when I put my hope in myself or others and they let me down. It’s easy to be let down when your source of security is unreliable. 

I’m quick to be upset by bad things, but slow to be thankful for the blessings. And more than just the things that seems to be beneficial, I almost never stop to thank God for trials or hardships. 

I read today a verse that says “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call on the name of the Lord.” I think of thankfulness as a gut reaction to gifts, good things, kindness, etc. But there it reminds me that thankfulness is instead, a sacrifice. A sacrifice, the act of giving something up. In order to thank God for hard times, even when it seems awkward or pointless, I have to practice the discipline of thankfulness, and give up my desire to stay angry, feel the need to remain misunderstood, and recognize Jesus’ ability to bring calm to the mess my life currently is. 

It’s cool how Jesus doesn’t require perfection, he requires faithfulness. In my attempts to “impress” God, I forget that he loves me because of who he is, not based on what I’m able to do. Trying to achieve that type of perfection, only leads to a performance based life, where my focus becomes more about looking good for others, instead of following him faithfully. 

It’s also neat how Jesus uses these times of confusion for protection from things I can’t see are unsafe, from people who aren’t good for me, in preparation for times to come, and to give me perspective, showing me where I’ve come from, and where I need to go next.

Thankfulness becomes less of a box to check, and more of a constant attitude. 

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