Thankful For The Mess

Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday in November when families gather together for a day of feasting, football, and each other.

Thanksgiving. A day where everyone is being thankful for what he or she has.

Thanksgiving. A lovely day to celebrate, but I think we, especially me, more than often forget what we should truly be thankful for…

I am a junior in college, and I have a ton of homework (after all, I am an engineering major – imagine that). What does every student say about homework? Yes, I know. Homework is horrible. It is terrible. Bad. No good. Rotten. I get it. But homework is given to us students as a reason, and for that reason is why I am thankful.

This past summer, I recently had my first job. I was the youth leader at my home church, and I loved it. The ideal job. I absolutely adored it. I did not think of it as a job, though. It was more of a passion, and for that, I am thankful.

In August, I started working at the college library. While it is not as loved as my past job, I am still thankful for it. I do not love working at the library like I loved working at my home church, but I am thankful, but let me tell you why.

As we continue our everyday lives, the one thing we hear most is probably someone complaining. I do this a lot. But outside of our complaints, shouldn’t we be thankful? “Ugh, I hate this homework,” but two weeks later here I am saying something totally different while taking a test, “I am so thankful I did that homework!”

Yes, that is exactly it. I was thankful for the homework two weeks after I was given the homework. Let me try to explain this more, so let’s take a step outside of being thankful, shall we?

I have two people that remind me of being thankful. Dr. Seuss and Paul:

Dr. Seuss wrote a book called “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” This story is about an old man and a little boy. They are both sitting on cactus’ and the old man is telling the little boy stories, which all have terrible predicaments that could ensue a person, but of course the old man is wise, and tells the boy, ‘You’re really quite lucky.’

It’s a troublesome world. All the people who’re in it are troubled with troubles almost every minute. You ought to be thankful, a whole heaping lot, for the places and people you’re lucky you’re not.

Ha, we think we have it bad… Dr Seuss is deep, and I love it.

If you look at Paul’s ministry, one of his main themes and his main focus was giving thanks. There are many, and I mean many examples. He writes to the Colossians,

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

And again to the Thessalonians,

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Paul is the man, isn’t he? He also practices what he preaches, like in Romans 1:8,

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.

Paul is thankful! Just like in Malta, in Acts 27,

Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.  They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. Altogether there were 6 of us on board.

Even though he is in a trial, he is thankful!! Shouldn’t we be more like Paul? We have all heard the saying, “Be thankful for the little things.” I understand that life is stressful, but can we still be thankful even in our mess? Even in our chaos?

Can we step back from our mess and say, “For this, I am thankful?” Take a step away from the complaining, and think about what you can be thankful for – really! Let us not forget to be thankful in every circumstance. And here is why:

I am thankful for…

  1. The hair the comes from my cat, Frosty, because that means she is always there (and normal).313165_10150394204796900_1599007861_n
  2. The slobber that comes from my dog, Red, when I come home to see him after a long day, because that means I have a happy dog, who loves me.Red
  3. The parking spot in the boonies because that means I am capable of walking and have been blessed with a car.
  4. The one lady who sings off key at church, because that means I can hear.
  5. The hard and tough times because that means I have strength to overcome them.
  6. The screaming babies in church because that means the church isn’t dying.
  7. The long and hard day at work because that means I am employed.
  8. The rotten smell in the upstairs part of church when the AC stops (only at Slicer Street) because that means I can smell.
  9. The tears that fall from my eyes when I am hurt, because that means I can express emotion and feel.
  10. The hot July weddings and sweating like crazy, because that means I gain a new family member – a sister-in-law. 11811291_10153400871581900_3537351538591070294_n
  11. The times I injured myself while playing a sport, because that means I was active and able to play a sport.
  12. The next door neighbor who lost his leg, because that means he loves his country, as well as you and me.
  13. The clothes that fit a little too snug, because that means I have plenty to eat.
  14. The 5:40 AM alarm, because that means I am alive.

We are told to be thankful in everything, so let’s be thankful in all that we do, even in our mess.