“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches here in the USA we begin to see blog posts as well as articles on our favorite news sites about one theme: how to be thankful. Whether they point us to 5 easy steps to find thankfulness in our daily life, or how to be thankful despite the fact that your children won’t stop bickering, everyone it talking about the ease at which we can focus on how to be thankful, from health sites to parenting websites.
Do you know how to be thankful? We all know how to be thankful and it often has to do with comparing ourselves to others. We count our blessings, because we know some people have much less. We tell people we love them, because we may not have them beside us someday. We may even do a random act of kindness, because we have needs that not one notices, so we try to notice another’s needs. And we think about how we could be worse off, how we need to stop complaining.
But it is not easy to do when your spirit feels like crying. We look around us and see the commercials of happy families eating big Thanksgiving Day dinners and we grieve that we cannot travel to see our loved ones and that we can’t even the stuffing this year now that we are on that gluten-free diet. When we compare ourselves to others. . . we always end up not really feeling thankful in the end.
I have found that the only way to realize how to be thankful is to understand the gifts that God has given us. the grace He has given–gifts at we did not deserve. And the mercy He has allowed us to experience– a lack of punishments for that which we do deserve. Our life and all that we have to be grateful for is between you and God–it has nothing to do with how much or how little you have in comparison to others around you.
Prayer: Lord, help me to come to You with my thanksgiving this year. As I search for how to be thankful, remind me that it has nothing to do with what more I have that someone else lacks, or what I lack that someone else has. You are my gift and all my gifts are from You alone. Amen.
About the author
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop .
When you are trying to figure out how to be thankful, what do you do, or what questions do you ask yourself about being thankful?
This short video, “Show me what I have to be thankful for, Lord,” is a good reminder of how God shows us every day how to be thankful. As you watch it, you may think, “But this guy has his health! I don’t have that!” But the video is not about specifics. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing what you have to be thankful for with what the person in the video has to be thankful for. Look around you and share with us below what you spot in your own life when you consider how to be thankful each day.