Ikea is one of my favorite stores. I don’t know about you but I go into Ikea, see everything I don’t need, and come out with a new couch, and even pet supplies or something crazy.
I don’t know what it is about Ikea, or even Target. I go into these places and all of a sudden I am super industrious. I see plates and I think, “Oh, these would be perfect for the dinner party I am not throwing, yes, lets buy 8 of these.” Am I alone in this?
Today is the first of November. You know what this means? It means it is now socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music, and begin dreaming of a white christmas. It also means that we skip right over Thanksgiving, and jump with both feet into Christmas.
But I feel like that is doing a disservice to Thanksgiving.
What would Thanksgiving feel if we didn’t slow down enough to eat the turkey, have some tryptophan naps and cranberry dreams? How would it look if we ignored all of the John Wayne movies, and the Macy’s Day Parade? It would look bad, bad I tell you.
The answer it seems is simple.
We don’t skip over it.
We embrace it. We wrap ourselves up in the beauty of thankfulness, and turkey. We bask in the glory of searching our heart and opening ourselves to the idea of finding something to be thankful for instead of whining about what we don’t have/need.
We look inward towards hearts that need to be taught how to see thankfulness. Hearts that need to be taught the art of thanks, not comparison. Hearts that long for truth, authenticity, and connection.
We carry around our wounds like badges of honor on our chests from the wars we have fought. Most of these wars have been hard fought, and had major casualties.
The casualties have been us.
We are the ones who have become dead mens bones, waiting for our moment to come alive.
Funny, how we can stare into the face of truth, for hours, but we can talk ourselves out of it with a flick of the finger. And we don’t need anyones help to do it, either. We can kill ourselves off without any help.
We can find in ourselves the worst of who we are, and all of the out weighs the beauty to be found in us. It is a never ending cycle.
However, I think I figured out how to end the cycle.
You know we move so fast these days, we hardly realize until it is too late that we have stopped living with joy. Instead we see everything on social media, and in magazines, and we believe the lies that this is real life. You don’t see how long it took them to stage the picture, or how they picked the perfect one, with the best edit. That is social media.
Real life is raw. Hard. Gritty. And messy.
I love the messy life I live. I love that my community is so intwined in my life that there is no untwining ourselves with out serious damage. I love that the mess comes in all shapes and sizes, colors, cultures, and volumes. We are flavorful.
Messy lives are full of highs, and so many, oh so many, lows. Tears and laughter go hand in hand. You can not have highs on mountain tops without first walking through the valleys.
That is what makes the light so great, and so bright, we have to be in the dark in order to appreciate the light. And oh, what a beautiful light we have.
Thankfulness gives us the fuel we need to make it through the darkness of the valley. Sure, the sun still shines in the valley, but sometimes it is blocked out by circumstances and situations. It is when we are on the mountain top and you look around, unobstructed, that you can fully see how far you have come.
Thankfulness is the light that guides us into the better tomorrow. When we fix our eyes on the joys we have in the here and now, we see the love we have, the beauty that fills our everyday when we soak in thankfulness.
When we allow ourselves to be drawn into a bath of thankfulness, filled with bubbles, smelling great, and releasing all the aromas of peace, we can change our hearts direction, bring life to dead places, and live a life full of moments that are not staged, but rather teeming with life, the messy, hard, gritty, raw life we all long for.
What do we have to lose?
A dear friend of mine and I were having a conversation about how God remains faithful even when we don’t see it, and I was reminded of the quote that originated from a verse, and if not, God is still good.
Even when we have all the brokenness, all the wounds, and we smell like death, God is still good.
Thankfulness is a language of heaven, I do believe that, although I can not prove it to you, and I don’t have chapter and verse on that, but I do believe it. David lived his life out of thankfulness, don’t believe me go read some of the Psalms, and God called him a man after God’s own heart. Thankfulness. It is a life changer.
Thankfulness. Finding a place in your everyday life. Challenging your heart, changing your mind. Not always is it a simple thing, but it is a pretty simple task, giving thanks.
So yes, please do have the turkey, eat all the mashed potatoes you can stuff into your stretchy pants, and enjoy your naps, but choose to not skip over the thanks in the giving.
Thankfulness. How can being thankful change your world?
Still, I am learning,