There is a lot of talk about thankfulness around this time of year. If I stayed out of Walmart, I might even be tempted to believe everyone is thankful for everything all the time. But then I remember what Black Friday looks like and I dispel my foolish daydreams.
I do not want to give artificial, thankless thanksgiving like so many of us tend to do for tradition’s sake. So, being the ashamedly thankless person I often am, I thought maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t the only one in need of a new question. For me, asking, “What am I thankful for?” may produce much pretty plastic positivity, but when I look at my home, my hope, and my unholy attitude, I know I must ask myself another question; a more important question. It is this: “What keeps you from being thankful?”
Because that is the question you and I must answer if we want our happy lists of gratitude to transcend our unhappy days full of stress, strain, and sure as shootin’ shortcomings. It’s one thing to count my blessings. It is entirely another to understand why I so often do not. So, without further ado, here are a few of my unfavorite things:
4. Unrealistic Expectations
As a human, I tend to fixate upon the one crooked picture hanging on the wall rather than the other nine hanging straight. I see the weeds instead of the flowers. I edit when I should be note-taking. I am over zealous, under learned, and I only have one speed: Go! Our strengths are our weaknesses. What is meant to spur me on towards excellence can also foster great ingratitude, impatience, and unappreciativness. Thankfully, the Lord is continually showing me my weaknesses and helping me recognize my desperate need for him. I call upon my Savior and find grace in his assessments.
You are altogether beautiful, my love;
there is no flaw in you. ~Song of Solomon 4:7
What?! I think you missed my confessions, Lord. But, no. He knows. He has always known. And he loves me anyway.
I find that my Savior is not like me. Or, more grievously, I am not like him. He sees only the beauty in what he has been given by the Father (John 6:37.)
Is he naive? In denial? Blind?
No. My Savior is loving. He is love. And love covers a multitude of sins. My God sets his greatest affections upon me, not because of my loveliness, but because of his own goodness and mercy. He, by his grace, makes me beautiful. He finds no flaw. He does not selfishly insist that I change on my own. Instead, he loves me so much that he is willing to carry me in the right direction. He does not highlight my imperfections. Instead, he makes me perfect by his own perfection. He does not expect more than I can give. Instead, he gives more than I expect. He always forgives, always trusts, and ever refrains from harboring bitterness over my apparent sin. He always makes himself available to me and concerns himself with my well-being. His anger does not consume me despite my warrant. My God is never afraid to love me well – not because I cannot hurt him, but because he cares more for me than his own well being. Jesus understands the reward of sacrificial love. How could I not be thankful?!
Oh, to be like Him! Father, make this wayward daughter like your Son! Forgive my ingratitude and teach me how to love with true thanksgiving. How I long to be like you!