"Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name." | Psalm 100:4
Often times in our life, we get carried away by distractions and the rush of our daily routines. As humans, we have the tendency to complain more than we do give thanks. However, as we enter the season of Thanksgiving, let us be reminded of the endless blessings God supplies to us and learn to show gratitude instead of grumbling.
These are 10 things I am thankful for:
1. The Opportunity to Know God
In a broken world, it is fairly easy to lose sight of who God is. I give thanks today that I have seen God's goodness and faithfulness before my eyes, allowing myself to know the nature of who He is. There are so many people who have not heard of God and many who also reject God. However, I am incredibly thankful that I have been chosen to know Him and experience all that He is.
2. The Church I am Planted in
No church is perfect. Every person in the congregation has their flaws, including myself. Every organization and its departments has its needs of improvement. I used to seek distance from church and people. However, now I understand the reason why I am planted in specific "soil." I give thanks that God directed my path to my church as a place of growth and change.
3. The Trials I have Faced
The trials I have faced in my life were never easy to go through. However, without those trials, I would never grow, mature, and be the person I am today. The trials I faced allowed me to have testimonies to share and reasons to believe that everything happens for a purpose. For that, I will forever be grateful.
4. The Moments of Emptiness
While many might find this weird to show gratitude towards, I am thankful for the moments where I felt empty or void because some of those moments were the life-changing moments in which I allowed myself to be vulnerable before God. These moments of emptiness allowed me to search deeply for contentment in the Living Water and be abundantly quenched. These moments reminded me that only one thing in this world can give pure satisfaction and fulfillment, and that is truly God alone.
5. The Liberty to Express Oneself
Freedom and free-will is a beautiful gift from God. In a recent prayer meeting I was touched by my youth leader's prayer expressing her gratitude towards this freedom. As she mentions that God is not a strict God, allowing us to freely express ourselves, making us unique from one another, I was reminded about the His free-flowing grace and mercy; that in the ways we choose to express our emotions, feelings, faith, etc., God openly embraces us and reminds us that we are loved. We don't have to be robots or minions to God, but instead we have the opportunity to experience His freedom in our own ways. This is no invitation to openly sin, rather an invitation to find liberty in what Christ has sacrificed for us. As God does not confine us or limit us, the liberty we have in Christ is something to be thankful for everyday.
6. The Individuals Placed in my Life
As an extrovert, I know so many people. Whether it be family or friends, this year made me realized that some people are meant to stay in our lives forever, and some are only meant to serve a season in our life. With that being said, I am extremely grateful for the people God has placed in my life currently, for the people God has placed in my life in the past and removed now, and for the people I will meet in the future. Each person I met has made an impact in my life one way or another, so for that reason, I will choose to give thanks.
7. The Education I am Receiving
I am an interior design student at California Baptist University. While there are more renown institutes or universities for my major, I am incredibly grateful to be receiving education from the professors I have now. Honestly, I used to wonder if it was ideal or logical for me to be studying such an intense field as it was still being experimented on and developed (Interior design was a new major at my school), but today I give thanks to God that He placed me where I needed to be. My professors have given me so many amazing opportunities that I would not be able to experience at other universities, and through each semester, my professors have shown me grace and love through their teaching; educating us not only with technical knowledge, but also how to develop our character and work with others in our future jobs.
8. The Gifts Entrusted to Me
This is truly not meant to be a boast about myself, but I just wanted to give thanks for the gifts, talents, and skills entrusted to me. It took me a while to truly be confident in who I am now as I was always fearful of judgement, embarrassment, and failure. However, when I look back at my life and reflect upon myself, I find that I am capable of many skills. I am certainly not the best at any of these things, but I know that if God gave me the gifts, the talents, the skills, that I need to embrace them and use them for His glory. I thank God when people are blessed by what I do because it helps me understand the importance of service and ministry. Our God-given abilities need to be put into use to enhance His glory and expand His kingdom.
9. The Changing Seasons
Perhaps you may have noticed a central theme in some of the things I am thankful for. Many of the things that I am thankful for now were things I was not thankful for before. This year genuinely shifted my mentality and helped me realize that the things we go through are meant for a reason. Each year, or even throughout a span of several months, I go through a different season in my life. Some seasons, I feel like I'm on top of the mountains, and other seasons, I feel like I'm wandering the lowest, darkest valleys. This year really taught me that each season serves a purpose, whether it be to sharpen me, or to give me rest. With that being said, I am grateful that my seasons are always changing, and that in every season, God reminds me that I am never alone.
10. The Future
The "future" can be an intimidating term as no one really knows the events or situations that will occur. There are so many things that can happen within a year, or even a couple of days. With that being said, my statement of thankfulness is also my statement of faith. I know that whatever lies ahead, there will always be things to be thankful for. Though I don't know what life will be like in the future, I do know who goes before me and who holds my future in His hands.
To wrap this up, I just want to say that there are always opportunities and moments to give thanks. I wholeheartedly believe in addressing reality and speaking about my emotions as they are. In all honesty, reality is not always pleasant, but it's our attitudes and outlook that we can shift to see beyond the circumstances. Therefore, may we all learn to see the silver lining and continuously praise Him for the things He has done and the things He will do. When we truly enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise, we will see our circumstances and our lives in general change for the better.