I have so much to be thankful for. It crosses my mind at random intervals throughout the year, but at Thanksgiving, it’s so much plainer. Towards the end of November, life seems to glow with gratitude. As the season crosses into Christmas, I want to sing and smile at strangers and express thanks for everything.
But there is one thing I’m not thankful for. I have trouble being thankful for nothing.
It’s an odd statement, and I’m pretty sure it’s grammatically incorrect, so let me explain.
When everything is going my way, when life is busy and bustling with blessings, it’s easy for me to be grateful. It’s second nature to give thanks for each good thing, for each answered prayer and successful step forward. When my dreams come true; when I get the job I wanted; when the words come smoothly, the “thank you’s” flow freely.
In the times when nothing is happening, though, when nothing is working out the way I planned, and I feel like I know nothing, I don’t consider being thankful. How can I be, when there isn’t something to be thankful for? Who says thanks for nothing?
I don’t. When nothing is going as I want it to and I feel stuck in that nothingness, my response is not to be grateful. It’s to sulk and mope about how nothing is going right. Nothing is happening. Nothing is changing.
Although this year has been a whirlwind of change for me, it’s also been spaced out with empty caverns of nothingness. I’ve hated those “nothing” times. As difficult as change is for me, being stuck in the middle of nowhere, in the midst of seemingly nothing, is worse. I’m only thankful when I get out of those places!
Yet looking back, and then looking ahead and wondering if I’ll be in another “nothing” stage soon, I’ve realized something. Those times of stillness, when nothing happens and I go nowhere, have been some of the most life-shaping seasons for me. In every long stretch of “nothing”, something actually has been happening. God has gracefully been teaching me patience. He’s been holding me back when the time isn’t right for something else. He has given me these pauses so I can breathe, and rest, and simply wait and be still.
Those moments of nothing are when I should be most thankful. Rather than being anxious about what may be ahead, and when I’ll get to it, I should actually pay attention to the powerful words found in Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Every time I’ve read that verse, I’ve paid attention to the prayer and supplication part. Do you know which part I’ve ignored? With thanksgiving.
Don’t be anxious; be thankful. Even when there is a cause for anxiety, give thanks.
In everything and in nothing, give thanks.
This Thanksgiving, I want to say thanks, even for those times of “nothing.” …Especially for those times of nothing.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! In the times of everything and of nothing, I pray you’ll be blessed.
What are you thankful for this year?
Also, on a mostly unrelated note, what kind of pie do you prefer? The pumpkin pie pictured above gave me a craving, but there are some scrumptious apple pies in my kitchen at the moment too. How does a girl choose?
One last thing before I go for the pie and whipped cream: Thank you for being a reader and friend here! I can’t express my gratitude, and how much it means to share the journey with you. It’s another thing I truly give thanks for.
Happy Stuffed-Like-A-Turkey Day!