I don’t feel thankful today. There, I said it. I’m not complaining here, it’s just that, as we approach Thanksgiving, that day that kicks off the long, downward glide into Christmas and the end of the year, I take a look around at my circumstances, root around in the ol’ emotional cellar, and… nope, I don’t feel thankful.
Now, I know that there is a lot to be thankful for in this world of mine, some wonderful things that are happening. In fact, there’s probably more than I am capable of seeing. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve got a lot on my plate, all of which I’d gladly trade for another belt size of turkey, mashed potatoes, and my mother’s secret recipe for stuffing. I glance around, and yep, there’s a lot to weigh me down. I still need to put together the details of the production program I’ll be running next year, handle fundraising for two organizations, come to terms with a close friend after that argument we just had, and figure out how I can get home for Christmas. I’m in an industry plagued by flagging productions, self-aggrandizement, rejection, and vice. Along with the geese, the economy has gone south. People are losing their jobs, their homes, and their loved ones. Friends are watching dreams die. It seems like so much around us is in complete disarray.
So let’s get it out on the table: I don’t feel very thankful right now. Maybe you don’t feel very thankful either. And yet…
Thank you, Lord.
You see, God didn’t call us to feel thankful in all circumstances; He called us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). He handed us the easier task of giving thanks, which is a good thing, because I don’t think that any of us is capable of feeling thankful all the time. This is a distinction that is especially important for us artists to understand, as we too often tend to let our emotions dictate our reality.
Actually, God created us to have it the other way around. In his book, Proust Was a Neuroscientist, author Jonah Lehrer notes, “[T]he mind can induce its own emotions.” Our recognition of reality, of that which is true, can determine our emotions. That is to say, giving thanks, whether we feel it or not, is the predecessor to feeling thankful.
If your world seems chaotic and painful right now, I’m in no way minimizing that fact. If I’m to be honest, I’ve got a bit of that going on myself. But now that we’ve got that all out in the open, let’s turn our faces to the Son, close our eyes, take a deep breath, and…
Thank you, Lord... thank you.
All my best,
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