Thinking like Paul

Published 12:44 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

On Sunday, my friend hosted our annual Friendsgiving. 

Twice, I tried enticing them to go around the table (and then the living room) to name something they are thankful for, but it turns out the attention span of eight twenty-somethings are about as long as my four-year-old nephew’s. 

Nonetheless, the rule to naming something you’re thankful for was that you couldn’t say “friends or family.” That’s always a given. And if your neighbor says, “I’m thankful for my family,” and the next person said, “I’m thankful for my PS4,” well, then, that would just make everyone look bad and kind of FORCE us to say “friends and family,” right? 

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So we ruled out those two things we’re all very thankful for, and though the turn never made its way to me, my one thing was going to be that “my career dreams came true. I do what I love. I write what I love. I walk into bookstores and see my novel. And to top it off, I’m still growing in those areas.”

When the turn got to my friend Cassidy, she said, “I’m thankful for the ability to remember.”

When you’re a kid, it seems like Christmas is about the presents, until you’re older and can fully comprehend it’s about gathering with family to celebrate the birth of the Savior. 

When you’re a kid, Thanksgiving is turkey, fall leaves, dessert, one day closer to all those presents. 

(On a quick note, turkey is obviously not very important to my Friendsgiving group of people; the first year we got together, my mom had to make the turkey for us babies, then the next year, we sat down to eat and realized we forgot to provide a turkey and settled for a last-minute rotisserie chicken. Then this year, we remembered the rotisseries and even included some extra fried chicken from Ingles! If any young adults are reading this, buckle up. This is what adulting looks like.)

There is so much beauty in those nostalgic childhood memories of the holidays. But there is so much more meaning and comfort in not caring about the things that make Thanksgiving “Thanksgiving.” In fact, you learn to give thanks all year long. And in all things, good or bad. 

Dear diary: Most nights before I go to bed, I spend some alone time with the Lord through journaling, reading––currently––1 Corinthians, and making a list of things I’m thankful for. 

Usually, it goes something like:

Thank you for the color green.

Thank you for coffee.

Thank you for cold mornings.

Thank you for cozy Christmas movies.

Thank you for sitting on the porch during sunsets. 

The little things. 

1 Thessalonians chapter 5 says to give thanks in all circumstances, as it’s God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. 

There’s something we can note from Paul’s unyielding thanksgiving. In his worst of the worst circumstances, he gave thanks to the Lord, and he did it joyfully, knowing that he was living within God’s will and for His glory. 

This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to think like Paul. I encourage you to say a simple “Thanks, God, for listening. I know you’re there through it all, every day of the year.”

Happy Thanksgiving, loves! I hope it’s amazing for you.