Have you had a hard day? I can so identify with that, except not only have I had a difficult day, mine turned into a week, then a month. Challenging would be the word to describe it. One strange event after another has happened. I would call them coincidences, but it has almost like a little gremlin (if I believed in them) has been following me around causing one little calamity after another, for not just a few days but a month. It is almost laughable; however I still have had to solve repeated issues.
Isn’t it like life to do that? You are rolling along day after day, just thinking life is grand and then wham, the challenges keep on coming. It is almost like you have an audience waiting to see how you will respond. In reality, we actually do have people watching us, waiting and observing our reactions or responses. I make a distinction between these two for a reason. I like to say that a reaction is a reflex, like a knee jerk, an automatic movement to a trigger; the first thing that just blurts out of your mouth or a physical action that can be quite unbecoming. A response is more considered, thought out. It often comes following pondering the issue or Prayer to our Lord for Higher Wisdom.
Reactions are seen daily on our roadways, in grocery checkout lines, walking down the street, on buses and subways. Road rage is reactionary. We are often the victims of reactions. They leave us cringing and uneasy and even fear filled.
Responses are vastly different. They may be preceded by silence, sometimes by hurt looks, but seldom more than that. Responses do not always take days to manufacture. It is a challenge presented to us to refrain from giving into the reflex action of our flesh.
If we can look at it as a test and not an assault, we have made the first step to overcoming it. What do we rely upon when presented with such a problem? If we solely trust our instincts, we will likely fall and fail. I find that I can only surmount the obstacle by looking at the issue through God’s eyes. He is the only one who truly knows all the things affecting the situation. He alone has the Wisdom with which to deal with it. In our limited perspective and perception, we will always have incomplete understanding and thus faulty reactions. Stopping for a moment and asking the Lord for Wisdom will never be a waste of time. The Holy Spirit is always ready to provide insight not readily available by observing the outward appearance of a circumstance. Based on His Wisdom, He is always ready to Provide that little extra we need to respond with Compassion and Love.
The next time you experience a challenge, or series of challenges, pause and Ask the Lord for Guidance before you say a word or do anything. It takes but a moment, but it can save you tremendous grief. Like they say when finding you are on fire (in reality or figuratively), "stop, drop and roll." Stop your flesh from reacting. Drop your preconceived notions. Roll the care of it onto the Lord. He will Provide Wisdom, Understanding and Discernment and often a gentle word or action to diffuse the situation. We do not need to have all the answers when our Lord has all the Answers we will ever need. Just ask and He will Respond for us and through us.
This is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. It is a time of reflection about the things in our lives for which we are grateful.
Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name.
For some of us or those in our midst, the circumstances of life are overwhelming. Yet, we are to Praise the Lord while life spins out of control. When all else is crazy, we still have the Name of the Lord to Praise, a Name above all names. We have the breath of life and can be thankful, for in each breath is the potential for a new start. Take this opportunity to Praise Him for new beginnings.
Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.
Even in the middle of trials, tests and dire circumstances tell your problems to the Lord with a thankful Heart. Even when we are down to our last two cents, we can Praise Him for what we do have, even if it is only the clothes on our backs and a new day. He Hears our Heartfelt Prayers and can Show us the Way to start over while we are yet Praising Him.
Praise Him for His Word and that He never leaves us nor forsakes us, no not ever. If we reach out to Him, He is there waiting and Willing to Do us Good. It might not be in the way or the timing we anticipated, but He is always there for us.
Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.
God inhabits our Praise; He Lives there. That means He is near us when we Praise Him, near enough to carry us through our pain and suffering. An attitude of Gratitude in the midst of our misery draws us closer to Him. He will take any invitation offered. Things change in His Presence. We are able to see situations from a fresh Perspective and Miracles can happen.
2 Corinthians 9:11
You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous, and this [generosity, administered] through us is producing thanksgiving to God [from those who benefit].
God Loves to Bless us. We are Blessed to Be a Blessing to others. We are not meant to be storehouses but distributions centres from which God’s Blessing flow to those around us. Give Thanks to the Lord for what you have. Sow your little so that you may reap more, and in turn you may give more to others If you need friendship, be a friend to another lonely soul. If you need someone to share your burdens, help another with theirs. It starts with sowing the little you have, so that God may richly Bless you for your benefit and those around you. When others reap Blessings, we can tell them they came from the Lord and then they can be Thankful to God for what they received.
I would like to start a trend. Beginning this Thanksgiving may we begin a journal of Thankfulness. Each day, we can make an entry highlighting one or more things that day for which we are grateful to God. It can be as little as being happy to find a convenient parking spot at the shopping centre or as huge as getting a clean bill of health after an illness. Just find something to be thankful for that day and write it down.
We have a little over two months till Christmas. It would make a lovely gift for family or friends if you were to share entries from your Thankfulness journal over the Christmas holidays in some creative way. Let your loved ones know how your attitude of gratitude has impacted your life this autumn. Let us make this Thanksgiving a time of truly Giving Thanks and sharing the Joy you have experienced from God with family and friends.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! May God Bless you abundantly.
Judith Utman is the author of Voices in the Wilderness.