“Everything” is an all-encompassing word: “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Easier said than done, right?
Perhaps the least difficult time to thank God is when life is less difficult. Thanksgiving flows most naturally from the heart when life is good. Slightly more challenging is the decision to thank God for painful circumstances. But, with an eternal sense of purpose, believers can be grateful for the way God moves in their lives. Personally, I struggle the most with gratitude for things I don’t like about myself.
Probably the most obvious form of insecurity is body image. The comparison game between different-looking people points out what exactly we don’t like about our appearances. I myself can name several things I would like to change about my appearance. But is appearance really what defines our worth? According to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, certainly not!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.
Our worth is not our own; our worth was bought at the price of Jesus’ life. As believers, our bodies are the places that the Holy Spirit chooses to dwell (2 Corinthians 6:16). The beauty of God permeates into our own lives when God Himself chooses to live in temporary human bodies.
Another common insecurity is evident in self-doubt. When people lose faith in their God-given abilities,–and forget that they are given by God–they become engulfed by feelings of incompetence. Again, the comparison game also becomes dangerous when we try to out-do others’ talents, positions, or even ministries. A dislike towards one’s incapabilities leaves a sense of emptiness in purpose, which only God can determine.
2 Corinthians 3:4-5
4 We have this kind of confidence toward God through Christ. 5 It is not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God.
Because this blog is written to explain the lessons God has taught me through physical pain, I’ll close by trying to be thankful for my imperfect health. I don’t like the fact that I need to sit down more than others do. I don’t like the fact that I sometimes walk with a limp. I don’t like the fact that sharp pain often interrupts my thought process. But I should learn to thank God for carefully creating me exactly as I am.
13 For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from You
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
God, You knew exactly what You were doing when You made me. Nothing about the way I was created was an accident; You see all that You have made and call it good. Help me to see Your divine creativity in creating my imperfect body.
Thanksgiving is a season of gratefulness to God, but thanksgiving is dependent on us. We determine how we view our lives. Our attitude towards ourselves is sometimes the only thing that can be changed, since God’s goodness in our lives never fails. Thanksgiving is about our perspective towards the good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives.
As Thanksgiving approaches and we admit our gratitude for people we love, let us not forget to thank God for that which we see as repulsive in our lives. Let us remember how we are treasured in His eyes.