In Everything? Give Thanks?

In everything, give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This time of year, especially the week of Thanksgiving, we see the first part of this verse tossed around. It’s on plates, napkins, chalkboard walls, plaques. It was probably on church bulletins Sunday and will be statuses come Thursday.

But I have to be honest that Sunday I really didn’t want to give thanks in my situation. As I sat waiting for the police to take an accident report (I’m fine, Betty’s scratched up) I was not giving thanks thinking it was God’s will for my life. I was frustrated and irritated at the hassle of someone not paying attention and side-swiping me. In the extended wait time for the cops (who never showed) I didn’t give thanks for that time in my car in the middle of a busy thoroughfare near my neighborhood. Thankfulness was not entering my mind as I steamed over plans for my afternoon that were now thrown out the window.

Real honesty here that I was just pissed. Pissed that now I have to get my car fixed, pay a deductible and deal with insurance claims for the next few weeks. It’s life I know, but I was not having it and most definitely was not giving thanks through it. I stress baked and fumed for a good part of the night. Then suddenly this verse floated into my head. So I pushed it aside and distracted myself with a book I’d gotten. I dove into another world to find some semblance of salvaging my afternoon, my evening, my day.

This same verse from 1 Thessalonians 5 popped back up yesterday morning in my mind. It was a gentle reminder that I hadn’t taken stock of giving thanks in my circumstances. That I was intentionally living outside of the will of Christ because I was vehemently choosing to be unthankful in my circumstance. I didn’t want to be thankful it wasn’t worse. I didn’t want to be thankful that there weren’t injuries. I wanted to pitch a fit and be stubborn in my irritation.

Guess what though…you don’t get to live in that attitude or perspective. Because it’s not in the will of Christ. No, instead we give thanks in every circumstance, not comparing that we are better than the next person in it or that we aren’t like them. We give thanks that He saw fit to place us here in this moment, that we have a God who hears when we’re frustrated, broken, angry. Thankful hearts recalling seasons of joy and pulling them into our now. Thankful minds choosing an attitude of thanks in all things rather than an attitude of disdain.

If You Build It…

I loved Legos as a child. Who am I kidding? I still love Legos as an adult. Let me just say though, they used to not be that fancy. When I was younger I had a red twist-top barrel chock full of Legos of every size and shape. You had the world at your fingertips to create whatever it was you were in the mood for. Now it’s alot of pre-designed, build it from the instructions provided, type of Legos. Don’t get me wrong, they are fun and my nephews have a blast. I really wonder what’s going through their minds as they play with their Ninja Legomen, or build new people for their Lego sets.

I began to think about that as I contemplated today’s post for Questioning Tuesday. In examining relationships and the building blocks that are foundational to who we are as humans, I realized we’ve grown accustomed to these pre-fab relationships. They come pre-packaged, shiny, and easy to assemble. However, our lives aren’t made of plastic blocks and easily fit together pieces. We are intricately woven individuals (Psalm 139:12-14) who live in a broken world. In too many cases I can relate to, I see relationships falter and rip apart because it’s easier.

It is easier to tear something apart than it is to build something up. You can write and write and write, and in three seconds rip it in half and start again. You can build a friendship over several years, only to say one wrong thing, the very thing you know will be hurtful and damaging, and it will all be over.

Building up takes time. It takes careful preparation and energy. Energy that we too often like to say we don’t have. We have the energy, we don’t have the vulnerability very much. Tearing down only takes that moment of intent and destruction to accomplish it’s purpose.

My question for you today is what are you taking intentional time and vulnerability to build up? If you’re not, who can you begin to stake a claim in to build up a relationship?

 

1 Thessalonians 5:10-12: He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one anotherand build each other up,just as in fact you are doing.