Thankful – First Step to Freedom
I must admit Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday. God has taught me so much about freedom thru Thankfulness. For about the last 12 years God has led me out of fear and into freedom thru being thankful. I was completely gripped by fear about everything. I would have told you that I trusted God and that He had always been faithful to us. Because He had. But, deep down, I didn’t believe it. Somehow, I had separated what I knew in my mind from what I knew in my heart.
Our world was changing rapidly. The world financial crisis was hitting our family hard. We had kids in college or on their way, a business with 10 employees, a mortgage and so on… I can remember vividly, after a difficult conversation with our business partner, I was sitting in my living room and my ears started to ring and my neck was tensing up and feeling prickly. I could hardly think. Fear was engulfing me and I was terrified. I am not even sure how much time went by, before I thought to pray. Each day the news got worse, my mind soared with bad possibilities. I was gripped with fear.
Within a couple of weeks, I read 1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Be joyful, Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
To me, it seemed like this was a 1, 2,3 for living in God’s will. I remember thinking that I pray and I’m pretty thankful but I had no joy. I wanted joy and so I thought I should start writing in the back of my journal what I was thankful for. Nothing fancy or deep, just stuff. Each day I would write 1 to 5 things or so what I was thankful for. I started Feb 5, 2009:
and now as of today I am on number 4775:
Each day I thanked the Lord, was a day closer to living more fully in freedom. I could feel the shackles breaking off of me. When I had fear thoughts, which was all the time, I would read my thankful entries and then be overwhelmed by God’s goodness. Day by day I was forming new patterns in my mind. Stopping the what if plans, code word for worry, and trusting God’s faithfulness.
This is truly making a long story short, and I intend to write more about this. But as we approach Thanksgiving, I have to say, thank you God! You are my everything, my joy and my life. Almost twelve years of walking in thankfulness has moved me into a person who lives in freedom and joy.