November 25, 2021
The Dark Dungeon of Ungratefulness
Thanksgiving Day is a great holiday, definitely one of Martine’s favorites. She loves turkey and every fixin’ that goes along with the famed spread. Even though some think Halloween ushers in the holiday season (certainly retailers do), Thanksgiving’s four-day always-festive and restful (but sometimes bloated) weekend, is the much needed break we all appreciate. But it also gets our mind (and heart) tuned up for the real 35 day holiday season race. Thanksgiving really is the eye of the storm, the calm nestled between the crazy back-to-school pace of autumn and the impending mad rush of the Christmas and New Year season.
Thanksgiving Day is filled with parades, football, gatherings, family traditions, memories, and great food … best handled with a quick nap strategically positioned. For many years, we were able to get all our girls together and then sons-in-law as well. Now our girls/sons-in-law/boyfriends are geographically spaced out and all have fulltime jobs/college, so it’s been several years since we all celebrated Thanksgiving together. And I always feel sad about that.
I love my girls and want to spend all my time, especially special days and events, with them. But even though one hat I where is sad, many other hats I wear are happy. You see, if we aren’t careful, we could easily be sucked down into thinking about the wished we don’t get. No matter what the struggle, adversity, or even traumas occurring in our life, Thanksgiving provides the opportunity for us to simply be thankful for what we’ve had, currently have, and especially the future potential we all have. It’s a time to lift ourselves, and others, out of the dark dungeon of ungratefulness.
You see, we live in an age of entitlement … and it’s difficult to be thankful when we feel “entitled” to so many things. We tend to focus on the wants and desires we don’t have, instead of being thankful for all the blessings we do have. A significant issue in my past, and for almost everyone, is the distorted view of wants and desires we actually did have, but no longer have them. Desires like our health, job, house, youth, fitness, status, car, finances, a parent, child, spouse, or pain free living. Instead of being thankful for having any of those for a period of time, we often get stuck feeling frustrated, depressed, hurt, angry, bitter, or resentful that someone cheated us out of even more days of those gifts. We need to work hard to counteract the glut of propaganda that proclaims, “I deserve more!”
Every Christmas commercial, ad, self-help book, well-meaning friend, and small voice from your flesh will scream that you deserve everything that is good or valuable. But really, we are all sinners and, news flash … the wages for sin is death. Everything we have is a tremendous gift of powerful grace granted to us by the One we offend, disappoint, reject, deny, and grieve very regularly.
I hate to be a holiday downer. But unless you know what you truly deserve, it is impossible to see how many gifts you have been granted. It’s hard for us to recognize God’s obvious and subtle grace that blesses us every single minute of every day. With this perspective, complacency and ungratefulness will be cast out the door as we usher in heartfelt thankfulness, peace, and freedom to fill the void.
Today, if you aren’t full of thanks, ask God to open your eyes and release you from the dark dungeon of ungratefulness. I won’t be with all my girls this Thanksgiving, and part of me will be sad. But it will be more than outweighed by the thankfulness and joy of having spent many holidays and joyous occasions with them and the many other blessings God has for me today and in the future. Before you eat, sit at the table holding hands and tell each other why you are thankful. For those you couldn’t be with, get on FaceTime today and tell them. Remember, the secret of being thankful is learning to see everything from God’s perspective. Then you will truly thank Him for loving, pursuing, forgiving, and giving you so much instead of giving you what you really deserve. Whether you hold onto a perspective and attitude of ungrateful entitlement or you exchange it for thankful glee is your decision, so choose well.
The Benzio’s and our families at Lighthouse Network and Honey Lake Clinic wish the Stepping Stones community a blessed Thanksgiving Day and future. We are thankful for you, your encouragement to us, and most importantly, your interest and desire to grow in God.
Dear Father God, I come to You in prayer. I ask, Father, that You set me free from the prison of ingratitude. Release me, Lord, to enjoy the pleasures of having a thankful heart. It’s easy for me to be grateful when I wake up on the right side of the bed and encounter no major problems. At other times, thankfulness feels totally unreachable. I need a perspective-lift, Father. Help me to see things from Your viewpoint. Show me the lies and baggage from my past, and the hurts and wounds that suck thankfulness from my heart. Help me access the peace only You give abundantly. I pray in the name of the One who is the source and reason for my thankfulness, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. Isaiah 42:7
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Thessalonians 5:18