In this season of Thanksgiving, I thought I would write a blog about how to be thankful. Thankfulness is something we talk about a lot during this season, but I tried to put a different spin on the way we look at it in this specific blog.
The other day I was thinking about how easy it is to be thankful for the things in our lives that are “good.” It’s easy to be thankful for my incredible dorm because it’s a wonderful place to live and it’s full of wonderful people. It’s easy to be thankful for my family because everyone is happy and healthy. It’s easy to be thankful for my friends because they’re fun, encouraging, and keep me in one piece. When I think about all the good things in my life that God has blessed me with, it’s hard not to be thankful.
But when we think about the hard things in our lives, a grateful attitude isn’t as easy to have. It’s hard to be grateful when we have sick family members. It’s hard to be thankful when our heart has just been broken. It’s really hard to be grateful in this holiday season when we are unable to spend time with loved ones, or if that time is interrupted with unpleasant feelings.
Thank God for His design
I have a good friend who has been struggling with body image lately. She finds it hard to see her reflection in the mirror as the beautiful human being that God created her to be. This breaks my heart because I know that many girls my age – and younger and older – really struggle to see themselves as beautiful. This is due to many outside factors: a lie that we have been told at a young age that we can’t seem to shake, the unrealistic standards that the media forces us to try to keep up with, even the ever common comparison trap that makes us secretly wish we looked more like someone else and less like ourselves.
There are so, so, so many verses in the Bible about how God desires for us to focus on inward beauty. And those are extremely important for us as women to know and remember – to be able to arm ourselves when this world bombards us with lies that our outward beauty matters more than our inward beauty. We need to remind ourselves of the truth. However, in this specific blog, I want to talk about outward beauty.
Although your worth and value should never come from your outward beauty, it’s important to appreciate the body that God gave you. Not only are our bodies temporary houses for our eternal spirits, they are gifts from God.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).”
This can be such an easy set of verses to breeze through, so I recommend reading it slowly, one verse at a time. The maker of heaven and earth, each star in the sky, every ocean and puddle, and every animal from rollie pollies to Giraffes – made you. Not only did He make you, He created you; He crafted you. We worship God because we are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made. Not just thoughtlessly thrown together. Every hair on your head, every finger, each freckle and chromosome were intricately chosen and crafted. God knew what your story would say while forming you. I like to imagine the smile on His face as He thought about all the great things we would do for Him while He made us. It blows my mind to think about how intricate our bodies are and to be reminded how powerful and amazing God really is.
Even though scripture tells us to focus on our inward beauty, ladies, let’s not pretend we don’t care about our outward beauty. We love to get dressed up, we love to be told we look stunning, we like to take time to make our hair look special for an outing with friends, we like to wear clothing that accentuates our personal body type. While our inward beauty is the most important aspect about us, we should appreciate our outward beauty for the gift God made it to be.
You may be wondering what all of this has to do with being thankful… we are to give thanks in ALL circumstances.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16).”
Give grace to your flaws
What I want you to do right now is to go find a mirror. Full length would be most helpful for this exercise, but your phone’s selfie function will work as well. (Seriously, do it right now. Yes, you). Stand far enough away that you can see your whole body. Take a deep calming breath. Look yourself up and down. Carefully. Meticulously. I want you to look at the things you don’t like about yourself. Maybe it’s your nose. Or maybe you think your thighs are too big. Or you believe you’re a little too round in the middle. Or maybe there’s that one freckle right above your mouth that really bugs you. Right now, aloud, I want you to thank God for that freckle. Or your ears. Or your awkward hands. Out loud, you’re going to say, “Thank you God for __________”.
The most important part of this exercise to keep in mind that you don’t even have to believe or mean the words that come out of your mouth the first time. Or the second. Or even the fifth. The way to make this exercise successful is to repeat it every day until you do believe the words that come out of your mouth. That you really become thankful for every part of who God made you to be. Everything you like about yourself – and everything you don’t. Simply because God made all of you. God made you to be successful. He made you for greatness. He made you to fiercely love others. He made you to share His love. And most importantly, He made you as His child.
If you need a powerful song to help motivate you with this activity, check out “Work Of Art” by Britt Nicole – an inspiring and catchy song.
In this special time of Thanksgiving, let’s try to remember to give thanks – to the wonderful people in our lives who make it so wonderful – but most importantly, to the incredible God who created everything we have to be thankful for.