I have an almost-teenager at my house which means sour attitudes float around here like pickles in a jar. My middle schooler is generally an optimist, but this stage of emotional development sometimes sabotages her sunny disposition. Phrases like “I will never…” and “it’s always…” transform temporary hardships into eternal absolutes. Hope flutters away as despair settles in. When her glass of perspective is half empty, it becomes near impossible to convince her it is actually half full.
As we near Thanksgiving Day, I usually start to form a gratitude list in my head. This year, however, I noticed each item on my mental list has an asterisk beside it. The pessimistic attitude that plagues my usually optimistic daughter also invades my heart.
I’m thankful for Jesus, but I can’t live up to his standard.
I am thankful for my husband, but marriage is always so much work.
I am thankful for my kids, but they never listen and I’m probably messing them up with my uncontrolled emotions.
I am thankful for my home, but everything is falling apart.
I am thankful for my job, but I’ll never be able to live out my dreams.
You get the picture. I suffer from a glass half empty gratitude. This is not the attitude I want to have when I sit down to a turkey dinner with my family. I want an asterisk-free list of things that inspire thanksgiving in my heart. My list focuses on present difficulties and is void of hope in the good things to come.
#Thanksgiving is a day for gratitude, but it is also a day for #hope.Click To Tweet
Thanksgiving is a day for gratitude, but it is also a day for hope.
Paul addresses the relationship between gratitude and hope in Romans 5:
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Rom. 5:2-5 NIV)
I can be thankful, even in hardship, because my future is based on God’s love, not on my perfection or the performance of my people. I may experience temporary hardships, but they do not alter my eternal absolutes. My hope is in Christ alone. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12 NIV).I may experience temporary hardships, but they do not alter my eternal absolutes.Click To Tweet
I’m thankful for Jesus, who covers me with his righteousness.
I am thankful for my husband and the way he holds on even in the hard times.
I am thankful for my kids who are so full of life, joy, and grace. Parenting them makes me a better person.
I am thankful for my home—always comfortable, always enough.
I am thankful for a job that allows me the flexibility to pursue my passion.
This glass half full list takes a little discipline. It requires a shift in thinking from temporary comfort to eternal security. It means releasing despair and embracing hope. Hope can inspire gratitude for what is and what will be.Hope can inspire #gratitude for what is and what will be. #thankfulClick To Tweet
I leave you with this prayer for a Thanksgiving full of hope:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 15:13 NIV)
#FridayFive Link Up
Let us rejoice in thanksgiving with you! Share your thoughts on thanks in the comments or link up a Thanksgiving inspired post using the link up button below. This link up is open until December 1.
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Are you looking for a way to focus your family’s heart on gratitude? Download “A Full Heart: Living a Thankful Life” from All Mom Does for free here.
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