If you’re feeling a bit anxious this Thanksgiving, I want you to know you’re not alone.
I’ve been struggling to compartmentalize the anxieties of my life—the utter terror of being exposed or exposing someone to the coronavirus, changes in our finances, demanding bosses who are trying to hit targets in a difficult climate.
And that’s just to name a few.
I could go on and on for those who are dealing with even more—separation from family, children at home, joblessness, marital challenges, or even depression triggered by the lack of physical connection.
It might be even harder to get in the spirit of gratitude, especially if your state or city has imposed a stay at home order and squashed the excitement of seeing friends and family in person.
The Israelites, God’s first chosen people, were given explicit instructions on how they were supposed to enter the presence of God. Their Tabernacle included several stations that moved them into worship.
The first station, the courtyard, required congregants to step out of whatever headspace they were in, and enter with a desire to fellowship with God— a mindset of praise and gratitude.
There’s a lot to be pissed about in 2020. There are a lot of reasons to cancel it, throw it away, do whatever you do to help you process the utter L it’s been.
But a bad year doesn’t give us a free pass from creating a practice of gratitude. It doesn’t give us a pass to forget the small wins, the little joys—even if it feels like they are few and far between.
I often struggle with celebration, overlooking the small wins. It’s not natural for me to honor the good moments. A lot of that comes from growing up in a culture of hyperfocus on bad, blame, and shame when things don’t go our way.
This year, I’m learning the importance of creating space for gratitude, to remind ourselves of the work God is doing, even when it doesn’t feel like it in the grand scheme of things.
If you get a minute, I encourage you to write a list of what you are grateful for in 2020. Physically. On a piece of paper, or a blank Google Doc.
As I wrote mine, what started as a cooky exercise turned into a page full of things I had forgotten to celebrate this year. I began to see love and support, my own personal growth, and even the physical things He’s blessed me with.
This year may be filled with a lot of loss, grief, and sadness. And we must make room for our grief.
But if we can’t also make space for intentional breaks of thanksgiving, we’ll be consumed by our sadness and forget to see the work God has, is, and will do.
Create a moment for thankfulness—in whatever way it looks for you.