This past year was hard, no question. Looking ahead to the new year, I immediately feel a little worried about the uncertainty. None of us know what the new year holds. But I for myself have decided not to let the enemy win this one.
One of the best weapons we have against the devil’s schemes is thankfulness. I want to start the new year with thankfulness.
Thankfulness looking back
I have always loved Psalm 23, but recently, the fourth verse in particular spoke to me once again.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4, emphasis added)
For many, this past year was a tough one. No matter if you label the challenges you went through in the past 12 months “big” or “small”, they were challenges nonetheless.
We all know that as children of God we are not promised a life without difficulties. But we are promised that although we walk through valleys, we are not on our own. Jesus is there every step of the way. I know that after every trial, I can glance back and say, “Thank you, Lord. You never left my side.”
Challenge #1: Was this an easy year for you? Write down five things you are thankful for about this past year. Was this a hard year? Write down ten things you are thankful for about this past year.
Thankfulness in who God is (and who I am to him)
I remember a day when I was about twelve years old. We had guests from abroad visiting us and we were standing to take a picture. I admit it, I wasn’t having the best day. Jealousy was creeping into me and trying to gnaw at me from inside.
“Sarah,” one of my friends called, “Jesus loves you!” At that moment, I couldn’t do anything but smile. Often, I think back to that moment.Jesus loves me. That’s enough. Click To Tweet
Life has hit me with bigger problems and smaller problems, but through it all, there are lists and lists of things I can be thankful for.
– Jesus loves me.
– God created me with a purpose.
– Jesus died for me.
– God’s mercies are new every morning.
– Jesus is stronger than the prince of this world.
This list could go on and on. I’m sure you could think of many more to add to it. That leads us on to:
Challenge #2: Write down five things you are thankful for in regard to who God is and how he sees us. If you want to do the extra, find a Bible verse for every point you find.
Thankfulness looking ahead
For my third challenge, this year, I want to write down one thing I’m thankful for every day. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. Just a little notebook beside my bed, ready to be filled with thankfulness. I’m sure that looking back I will be able to see that I’m so blessed, no matter the circumstances.
I don’t want thankfulness to be bound to a certain time of the year, or a certain mood I’m in. I want it to be an on-going thing. A part of my every-day-life. God is going to do amazing things this year, and I’m challenging myself to face it with thankfulness.
Will you join me?
O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. (Isaiah 25:1)