My goal for this years' thanksgiving is not to cook the perfect turkey, or have the prettiest place settings, but to not absolutely lose it this year. Unfortunately the last two years I have found myself having a complete meltdown after Thanksgiving dinner because, even though I was surrounded by friends and family, had just stuffed my face with delicious food, and had plenty to be thankful for, I was allowing one terrible situation in my life that year to totally take over my attitude. I am not saying that theses things that were making me upset were ridiculous or silly. It is completely normal, after applying for job after job and not hearing anything back, to be pretty devastated. It is also totally acceptable to be upset when a guy you've been seeing for over a month is starting to ice you out. Regardless, I should not have been sobbing and blubbering in front of my family during a time where you are supposed to be focusing on the things in your life that are a blessing.
"In all things give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
I have a love/hate relationship with that verse. As you can tell from above, I have a tendency to let one bad thing, in a myriad of good, take over my attitude. And while I have read books like Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts", forcing thankfulness in the low points of life is extremely difficult and kind of unrealistic. How am I supposed to be thankful when I am lonely, exhausted, depressed, and feeling anything but thankful? While Ann Voskamp's gratitude list is a great way to practice thanksgiving, the last thing I want to do when I am feeling down is to make a list about the good in my life. I've realized though it's not so much about forcing thankfulness as much as it is about remembering thankfulness. So what if the blessings of my life were already written down somewhere? What if instead of forcing myself to feel something I don't in that moment, I just simply open up a little book with examples of His goodness and simply let the facts speak for themselves? It is harder to ignore they exist when they're right in front of you and it's a great reminder my current situation is not the norm.
So in order to combat the yearly Thanksgiving breakdown, I am starting to write down my blessings now - finding time during the good days to put them down in writing and then on the rough days actually reading thru it. If this is something you find yourself struggling with, I would encourage you to join me. It still takes effort to go back to that book on your bad days, instead of wallowing in your situation, but I'm finding it is definitely worth it.