Do you ever struggle to be thankful in the middle of your pain?
Satan really loves to grab a hold of our lives in times where we are trying to be thankful.
For so many years, Thanksgiving seemed to become one of the worst weekends of my year. Everything would collide or come apart on the day I was trying so hard to be grateful. I would end up exhausted, hopeless and longing.
Friends, this is no mistake.
Have you ever been burdened, longing or sad during a Thanksgiving season?
What about right now, in this moment? What is weighing heavy on your heart?
If you have ever struggled to be thankful in a difficult time, you need to hear this.
You aren’t meant to sweep your sadness, your burden or your anger under the rug.
God is not calling us to ignore our pains.
That is exactly what Satan wants.
Satan wants you to think you have to tuck your heavy heart neatly away in order to be thankful.
Because when you bury your pain, you end up putting it right into Satan’s hands.
I’ve seen this happen in my life for so long.
I thought by acknowledging my pain I was complaining, being ungrateful or focusing on the negative.
So I buried it. I locked it away.
The painful parts of our lives that get locked away end up growing beneath the surface until we cannot live and love in healthy ways.
I’ve seen this in my own life and in the lives of those I love.
We cannot allow this to continue.
We need to create the space to acknowledge and to work through our pains.
It is only then that we can surrender these hurts or hardships to God and learn to be thankful in the midst of them.
I know that today many of you are burdened by hurts. I want to say that you are not alone.
Let’s walk through these steps together and learn how to cultivate thankfulness even in the middle of our pain.
Allow the Space to Acknowledge
I learned a powerful lesson a few weeks ago. I had really been struggling with some heavy stuff and in the middle of my busy life, I felt myself falling downwards, fast. Everywhere I went, I put on a smile, a front and it’s okay. And because of this, I felt alone. I felt Satan’s grasp on my hurts tightening.
And then, my three best friends came for the weekend. My walls melted and my struggles were invited to the surface.
When I found the space to acknowledge my hurts and to share my struggles, I found immense freedom and healing.
It was in that space that light was brought into the darkness.
As friends, as family, as a church body, we need to create the space for others to acknowledge their struggles. And as those who are struggling, we need to take the leap of sharing our hurts with those we trust.
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:13
When you bring your pain into the light, you open the door to seeing God at work. And in doing so, you take the first step toward cultivating true thankfulness.
Work Towards Healing
God wants to bring your pain to a place of redemption and healing. He wants you to be free from the hurts.
But redemption and healing are not a passive process.
Working towards healing takes time, it takes intentional effort and it takes resources. But during this process, God will heal parts of your heart that so desperately need hope and free you from bondage.
Here is a list of things you can do to being working through your hurts.
- Go to counseling
- Seek out a mentor
- Share your story with a friend
- Pray every day
- Find Scriptures to combat Satan’s lies
- Find and read through a book on the topic you struggle with
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
God is working to turn your brokenness into beauty and your bondage into freedom.
Today I want to encourage you to start by choosing one way to work through your pain. And as you do, expect God to show up. This step is essential to cultivating thankfulness in the middle of your pain.
Surrender to the Most High
Surrender can be so hard, but it is in this step that we can untangle our hearts and be thankful.
When we surrender our lives and our hurts to the Lord, we accept His sufficiency and greatness. When we surrender, we make His love and goodness a reality.
And in this newfound perspective, you will find thankfulness pouring from your heart.
But surrender isn’t easy. Most of the time, we grasp so tightly at our lives.
And when you are grasping at control, you will find yourself being led by fear and paralyzed by pain.
Surrender is the opposite of control. When you surrender, you are placing your heart, your life and all that happens in God’s control.
How many of you want to stop reading right here and shout, "There is no way can I do that! My life in God’s control?"
I’ve been there. When we are surrounded by pain, heartbreak and chaos, we have to trust in God’s good plan.
Click to read more on how to surrender in the midst of your pain.
As you become assured of God’s great love for you and His good plan for you, you will find an overflowing thankfulness results.
What are you holding tightly to that you can begin to surrender to God today?
Thankfulness was never meant to be a forced denial of your pain, but the overflow of recognizing God’s love and sufficiency even in the middle of your pain.
What has helped you to recognize the Lord’s love and provision in the middle of a trial?