I can’t believe Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of all time, is in two days. It totally doesn’t feel like it. This is the first Thanksgiving ever that I am not spending with my family. (Wow, that just sunk in…)
But somehow, as my first Thanksgiving abroad (i.e. a Thanksgiving that doesn’t feel like real Thanksgiving) approaches, I find only thankfulness, not sadness, in my heart. Maybe even more so than usual.
Lately I’ve realized how crucial it is to be thankful.
In every circumstance. Always. I recently decided to consecrate the next two months to God, and when I asked Him what I should do with this time, He said, “I want it to be marked by thanksgiving and praise.” I was thinking more along the lines of sacrificing, learning, changing ,or even suffering, but the beauty and wisdom of this instruction immediately struck me.
It’s not even about me; it’s about Him.
Thanksgiving is not only beautiful, it’s a powerful weapon.
The other day, someone from church prayed the exact same word over me that someone else gave me a month ago: You are on the right path. This time, however, the word came with a warning.
He said he saw me walking on a path towards Jesus, but there were blue hands behind me reaching out for me. He wasn’t sure if they represented things from my past or what, but told me Satan was trying to thwart all the amazing stuff God is doing in me. I needed to be on my guard and be ready to engage in spiritual warfare.
My reaction: excitement. I was on a spiritual high from an awesome prayer meeting and couldn’t imagine what those blue hands could be. Later, however, I thought of some things––shame, for one––and I asked God how I could be on my guard when I wasn’t even sure how I would be attacked.
He reminded me of the theme He had given me for these last two months of the year: Thanksgiving and Praise. It all starts there.
When you are broken-down, at your weakest, in a place of despair, and you choose to praise God, it’s like nothing can touch you. Giving thanks––specific, sincere thanks––changes everything.
My Thanksgiving List
Right now I am thankful for many things, but I’ll just name a few:
– Thankful I get to have an American Thanksgiving dinner with friends on Thursday. (I excused myself from studio class and small group in order to go, haha.)
– Thankful for the church community I will feast with on Saturday. (I think that “family” is the main reason I don’t feel horribly homesick right now.)
– Really grateful for the words of encouragement and affirmation God has been giving me recently.
Sometimes when I’m walking down the streets of Seoul, I look around me and think, “Woah, I am in Korea right now. I am living in Korea. That is so weird.” At times my life doesn’t seem to make sense and I begin to doubt all the thoughts and dreams that have been growing in me. But then I remember the ways God has been affirming me, and I choose to believe. I am on the right path.