Bible and cross

It is officially Thanksgiving week! I know that that statement doesn’t necessarily mean something to everyone- for some who will be reading this, there either hasn’t been a lot to be thankful for this year or maybe the holidays don’t have the most positive feelings about them in your world. I believe this mostly has to do with the fact that all of our families are dysfunctional- to one degree or another- and though we may have some positive memories from the holidays, some of us have some negative ones too. Another factor that contributes to this is the element of loss- and because of how significant the person was to our holiday memories the holidays seems that much harder to face without them. This is real, and I believe that God’s heart is to meet us right in the middle of wherever we stand with the coming holidays.

A few years ago, a wise person told me that wherever my eyes are that will be the trajectory that my life will go. It makes sense, right? If I’m looking in the ditch while I’m driving, there is a good chance I’m going to end up in the ditch. If my eyes are on the road, there is a good chance that I’m going to stay on the road. What I am looking at and Who I am looking to determines so much of the outcome of my life.

If I commit most of my time to fixing my eyes and heart on the loss or dysfunction around me, I will become consumed with things that lead me to a place of depression, regret, shame, hurt, etc... If I commit my time to not ignoring the loss or dysfunction around me but recognizing what I have to be thankful for, my entire being will experience such a different reality during the holidays. There is so much out of our control when it comes to what others will do or say to us or even what we will experience during this season. If we choose to hold closely our thoughts and emotions and surround ourselves with some voices of life and support that move us towards thankfulness, these holidays can look differently than previous ones.

I’m consistently blown away when I stop and consider the things that I have to be thankful for- even during super challenging/difficult times. It could be the sunrise/sunset from the day. It could be that I haven’t gone to bed hungry this week. It could be that I am God’s workmanship, created in Him to do good works that He planned in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). It could be that He has not left me today or let me down. (Hebrews 13:5) Whatever your reasons to be thankful are today, step into them- even if it feels like you are forcing it- because living a life of Thanksgiving changes our outlook and our direction- and moves us closer to the One who made us.

Josh Keller is the multi-site care pastor at Cornerstone Church. He’s always open to connecting with anyone and everyone in our communites! Reach out at wecare@cornerstonechurchmn.org