Thanksgiving. What thoughts come to mind when you hear that word? Is it turkey and family time? Or could it be shopping? Because we all know that after Thursday comes Friday; Black Friday! Can I get an amen for the amazing deals? That’s something to be thankful for right? While I love nothing more than that amazing meal we all look forward to all year long, or a sale that can’t be beat for those Christmas gifts that will be given just a short month after, I don’t think of these things when I hear the word thanksgiving any more. At least, they aren’t the first things that come to mind.
While studying the book of Philippians with my ladies’ small group, we were all challenged to read through it and come up with a “theme” verse. Something that we felt was speaking to right where we were and that the Lord wanted to use to minister to us. If you aren’t familiar with Philippians or haven’t read it in awhile, it’s packed with some amazing but pretty familiar scriptures. In fact, as I read I was reminded how many scriptures I often pray or reference are all in this short book. So I set out to pour over those four chapters, determined to select some obscure but amazing verse that would be earth shaking to myself and the group.
Needless to say, the Lord had a different plan in mind. As I read I was drawn immediately to Philippians 4, verses 6 and 7 which says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
I’ve struggled most of my life with anxiety. Even as a child I would get mysterious stomachaches when I was nervous or fearful, which was a lot, if I’m being honest. Once I came to know this scripture, I would repeat either out loud or to myself – “Be anxious for nothing, be anxious for nothing!” So it was not a big surprise when I was led back to this verse.
It’s what comes next in this scripture that struck me as a new thing. Sometimes we get so familiar with things, we miss the new, don’t we? It’s like the every day with your spouse. Day in and day out we live our busy lives, sometimes forgetting to really notice each other or even have a real conversation. We must purposefully spend time with our spouse, giving each other undivided attention and really listening to the things on their heart and sharing the things that are on ours. It’s the same way with our Jesus. We have to spend time with him, giving him our undivided attention and listening to the things that are on his heart for us. And he wants to hear from us - he wants to hear about our hurts, our joys, our supplications or requests. Let them be made known, the Bible says.
As I read, the word THANKSGIVING jumped off the page. Y’all, God’s word is alive and active! It just hit me - am I coming to the Lord with a thankful heart when I pray? Am I thankful for all the things in my life, even the tough things? Thanksgiving is defined as, “the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgement of benefits or favors, especially to God.” We must actively give thanks to the Lord for ALL things. It will change you and it will change your perspective. When we are anxious, if we will begin to pray and present our needs and concerns to Jesus WITH thanksgiving, our whole attitude will be changed. Then his peace, which is beyond our understanding, will come in and guard our hearts and minds. Peace. It’s what we all long for, isn’t it?
What do you have to be thankful for? When was the last time you focused on those things? I encourage you to write them down – even your struggles and the things that may cause you to be anxious. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Turn those thanks into prayers and praises to the one who is the reason you have so much to be grateful for.
If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart
About Amy Brewer
Amy is a Louisiana native where she lives with her husband of 20 years and two of her three sons. Her oldest son is now married, giving her an amazing daughter in love. She loves spending time with family and friends, especially if there is coffee involved. She is passionate about fitness and weddings and keeps herself busy as a professional wedding planner and spin instructor as well as bridal bootcamp creator/instructor.