"BE Thankful" is the call or shall we say command of Thanksgiving. We not only put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be thankful, but we expect our spouses, siblings, children, parents, employees, employers and basically everyone that we share an interaction with to be thankful too. We tell ourselves to “Be thankful” and we tell our families, friends and even strangers to “Be thankful” believing that thankfulness can change them and change how they treat others (us).
It seems that entitlement and being thankful go hand in hand. We are told if we are thankful, then the more we are entitled to be given. Likewise, the more we give to others, then the more we are entitled for them to “Be Thankful”. We have been misled to believe that “If we could just be thankful enough, then it would transform our spirits, hearts, minds and relationships.” In other words, we have reduced gratitude to fit into our results based If/Then Formula.
Without a doubt, we are addicted to formulas that promise results and why wouldn’t we obey a gratitude formula that tells us, "If we are just thankful (enough), then gratitude will transform us from the inside-out". Like we do with all our other formulas, we roll up our sleeves to get busy and force ourselves to be thankful, even when we are not. We grind out thankfulness and if making list, doing studies and telling ourselves and others to “Be Thankful” doesn’t work, then we resort to the usual “motivators” of fear, guilt and shame. Who hasn’t been a victim of “If you are not thankful, then there’s a chance you could lose it” or “If God took away everything you didn’t say thanks for today, then what would you have tomorrow?” Don’t forget the classic, “How can you not be thankful, when people are starving all over the world?.”
Out of fear of reaping the consequences of not being thankful enough, we say, "Thank you" and we do what needs to be done to prove we are thankful. But...are we really thankful?
Motivation usually motivates me to "do" something to prove that I am thankful, say "Thank you" and make a list of everything I am thankful for, but does motivation really have the divine power to create the heart change needed to BE THANKFUL.
Have you ever really thought about thankfulness? Is thankfulness just a formula that we use to get more? Is it just an act? Is it something we should reward or praise someone for or is thankfulness simply a means to end?
As a nice southern girl, I was raised to “do thankful”. Yes ma’am, no sir, thank you, no thank you, thank you notes, prayers and southern politeness were usually more than enough to prove thankfulness, when you are being judged on thankfulness. Forty-four years later, I can honestly admit I was kind of good at “doing thankful” but I wasn’t thankful. Honestly, I didn’t even know there was difference, that was until I experienced what divine love looked like, tasted like, sounded like, smelled like and felt like. You might know this divine love that I am talking about. It’s the kind of love that moves in, sleeps on your couch, knits you sweater, makes you a feast, pursues you relentlessly and kisses you nonstop when you are covered with the mess of your own life. Love that invites you to rest and remember who are and how you are naturally designed to be vulnerable, sensitive, weak, needy, transparent, fragile, desperate and dependent on it’s presence, power and protection.
It was this divine love that set me free from doing many things, including trying to prove that I was thankful and just be loved for who I was. See, transformation happens from the inside-out and it only happens when love invites you to be fully known, completely accepted and live how you are designed without the fear of being rejected. When I discovered this kind of love, I discovered a thankfulness that overflowed from the depths of my soul. The AMAZING result of being loved so deeply and freely was that I wanted to give this love away. In fact, when I looked around, I saw this love was already overflowing into all areas of my life and into my relationships. Its crazy to see what divine love does to heal and help you, and then flow through you to heal and help others by creating these beautiful spaces in our hearts, homes and lives where we can just sit with each other, be ourselves, find rest and be thankful.
See, thankfulness and gratitude isn't something we do, it is who we are when we know that we are loved. So, today I invite you to Give-Up the gratitude formula. Instead, I invite you to be loved with love that’s already here for you to both receive and give. Love that must be discovered in you first, before you can give it away.
Let's start this holiday season by not trying to conjure up thankfulness and force thankfulness down people’s throats but by just trying to be honest about all the ways we do and we don’t, we have and we have not loved ourselves and others well. It is only truth that can set us free to love and be loved for who we are and not for what we do or don't do. It’s this place of honesty that invites love to fill our hearts and create relationships that are places of peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and thankfulness. So, today and every day fight the good fight to remember that you are loved and you are are a gift of love. Today more than ever… we need you to remind us what love feels like, taste like, smells like, sounds like and looks like.