November brings cooler temperatures, yards filled with piles of fallen leaves and people compiling lists of things for which they are thankful. But how do you choose gratitude if you just aren’t feeling thankful? When everyone around you is bubbling over with thanksgiving, but for a multitude of reasons or no reason at all, you just can’t muster up that feeling.
It happens. As leaders, we are expected to model what we are looking for in our congregation. And in November it usually is the practice of being thankful. The truth is though, there are times when we just can’t fabricate that feeling.
The good news is we can BE thankful even when we don’t feel it.
There are ways we can actively choose gratitude while asking the Lord to renew the true feeling in our hearts.
- Make a list. I know, it feels so manufactured. The truth is when we practice being thankful our emotions will eventually follow. And the good news is there is ALWAYS something for which we can be thankful. So look around you, and every day write down 10 things you are thankful for that day. Don’t do the same things every day. Stretch yourself. You may start out by simply being thankful for your bed at night and coffee in the morning. But believe that the list will grow.
- Remember times when you WERE thankful. Sometimes we need to turn around and look behind us at the things we have walked through and seasons we have had where things did feel sunny. There have been times when you woke up in the morning with a thankful heart. Remind yourself of the hard times the Lord has walked you through in the past. He was faithful then, and He is the same faithful Father today.
- Ask someone else. Ask them to tell you about when the Lord was faithful to them. Have them tell you what they are thankful for right now. Hearing the testimony of another believer can strengthen and encourage our own faith. This is one of the many reasons we need each other!
- Ask the Lord. Ask Him to stir your heart to thankfulness. Be honest with Him about how you are feeling. He knows anyways. It won’t last forever and He is waiting for us to come to Him with our needs.
If you are in a season where your heart feels numb or even cold and you are struggling with gratitude, you aren’t alone. November is hard for a lot of us for as many reasons as there are individuals.
Hang in there. Try these four suggestions to help you choose gratitude and press into Him during this season. He isn’t disappointed or surprised by how you feel. He is walking with you through it.