Thanksgiving #2

A year ago I wrote a small, disorganized entry on my blog about Paul’s “secret to being content in any and every situation…”

I wrote about how this “secret” is simply having a thankful heart, and practicing thanksgiving.

But as I was reading back to it I couldn’t help but think about it a little more… especially with all the things that some of my friends have been going through as of late.

It’s easy to be thankful when things are all warm and well with our favorite football teams winning games and having huge dinners in front of our faces.  But I guess the real test is when we’re stripped of those things.  Can we continue to be thankful in our loneliness, in our depression, in our broken families, when our loved ones are going through surgery, and when it just seems like there’s absolutely nothing in this world to be thankful about?

And I’m gonna be totally honest here, I have no answer for those situations.  And I’m not going to try to sell the gospel here in any way.   No, I don’t understand the pain that everyone goes through, but I sure know that it’s not easy.

3 years ago I went through my first (and thankfully my only) depression around thanksgiving time.  I guess it was just the culmination of everything that had been going wrong in my life at the time.
I remember the emptiness I felt when everything that I had been leaning on failed me for the first time.  I remember the loneliness when I felt like nobody could understand me.  I remember the Thanksgiving service we had at SNL and how I broke down infront of everybody while I was leading praise.  I remember skipping a Sunday service for the first time in my life.  I remember going to WebMD (hah) and looking up the symptoms for depression and being in denial when they totally matched the things I had been doing.

We’re all going to come across times when we either can’t seem to worship or just don’t feel like it.

Psalm 103 begins and ends with this interesting line:

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being praise His holy name.”

When David says this, I thought it was interesting because he’s commanding himself to praise, and worship.

But why?  Why does David do this?

The truth is that even David didn’t feel like worshiping or couldn’t get himself to praise.  He was exactly the same as any one of us in that sense.  (And that is very encouraging news…)

Throughout the psalm David tells himself to remember.  To remember who God is and to remember who we are relative to God.  This was David’s “secret to being content in any and every situation.”   To do this doesn’t necessarily change any of our circumstances, but we’re able to trust God even in the midst of the circumstances.

*Thanksgiving is a lot like Psalm 103 in that way. To set a couple of days out of the year to really remember everything that we’ve been given.  To deliberately command ourselves to give thanks, even when everything seems to be falling apart, even when we’ve forgotten how to.

And I love it.  I love how Thanksgiving is around that time of year when it’s just about to get really cold.  People really get lonely around this time of year.   I love how Thanksgiving is just long enough to be able to see all your loved ones.  It’s almost as if whoever designed this holiday knew that people get lonely and are going to need to be in the presence of Love.

I guess that’s about it for now.  I’ll write a more personal entry regarding some things I’ve been going through sometime soon.  I still need to write that post marathon entry too, so be on the lookout for that.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!