It's that time of the year again - - -a time we set aside on the calendar for "giving thanks for our blessings" and "stuffing the turkey." It's a time when, no matter what kind of trials we have gone through during the year, we find so many reasons to count our blessings and give thanks. As for stuffing the big bird, we pull out our recipes and head to the grocery store to buy the necessary items needed for stuffing it. When Thanksgiving Day arrives, families gather together, have a time of thanks, and then carve the stuffed turkey waiting on the platter. For just a brief moment in time, most Americans capture the true meaning of "giving thanks unto the Lord in all things."
I have to be honest and say that the day after Thanksgiving, I usually come face to face with myself as I reflect on my heart of thanks. "Will I stay in this attitude of thanks every day of the year, or will I stuff my heart with other things that rob me of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ?"
And so I ask you, "if you could actually put your heart on platter like the stuffed turkey, what would you see stuffed inside that might rob you of that intimate relationship?"
Would you see some of the following:
- Complaining Attitude: There is a big difference between a complaint born out of a real need verses a complaining attitude. Chronic complainers play a game called "Ain't it Awful what has happened to me." Complaining traps us into seeing ourselves as a perpetual victim, leaving no room in our hearts for thanks.
- Low self-esteem: Low self-esteem says: I messed up, I failed, I'll never amount to anything, I feel so inadequate, my future is hopeless. I have nothing to be thankful for.
- Busy, Busy, Busy: Becoming busy with the mundane things of life can crowd out our quiet time of prayer and studying God's Word. Without prayer and the reading of God's Word, thankfulness falls by the wayside.
- Past Hurts: Some people keep a tally of all the things that have ever been said or done to them. It's like they have reserved a room in their hearts with a sign on the door that says: "Hurts - come on in." Holding onto hurts and always thinking of self robs our heart of being thankful.
- Unforgiveness: Resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness can grow deep into our spirit, and become like an infectious disease that spreads to others. For example, you may say you love your children, but if you have bitterness and unforgivenss in your heart for someone, you are loving your children with a contaiminated heart. Unforgiveness and thankfulness cannot reside in the same heart.
So, this Thanskgiving season, I challenge myself first, and then you, to judge our hearts. Perhaps we need to change our recipe for what we have "stuffed into our hearts" and replace it with a recipe for a heart of thanksgiving all year long.