The Missing Ingredient

Something is missing. You are doing everything you can to prepare for the holiday season. You’re getting plenty of rest and you are scheduling regular activities to stimulate on-going renewal as you head in to this hectic time of year.

You’re trying to do things differently, too. But something about this time of year magnifies the difficulties of life. The holidays tend to compound the daily stress of work, family, finances, and time – all stretched paper thin already. The one thing you crave this time of year is peace. You volunteer, you give, you serve, and you pray - about everything. But no matter what you try, peace remains elusive.

It’s not exactly a ‘secret’ ingredient but the one element that might be missing in all of your efforts is thanksgiving. Look at what it says in the book of Philippians in the New Testament. Dont be anxious for anything. But in all things, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

There is a lot to unpack here, about not being anxious, remembering to pray and present your requests to God. All of this you are already doing. But, according to this verse the key to peace is approaching everything with a spirit of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving. We celebrate it every year, yet we lose sight of its genesis. The pilgrims gathered together after surviving the harshest winter they had ever experienced for one reason: To thank God simply because they were alive. They didn’t celebrate the end of the crisis, the prospects for the future, or even the chance to experience religious freedom. They pressed pause and thanked God for the gift of life. There were many more challenges ahead of them. But the pilgrims faced them with a peace that transcends understanding. It’s the type of peace that comes from a foundation built upon thanksgiving.

It is amazing what happens when we stop focusing on all that is wrong, difficult, and stressful in our life. Country music legend Willie Nelson said, When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. If you are having difficulty finding blessings to count, start where the pilgrims started: Thank God for life. It is basic, simple, and powerful.

Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple says, Thank you is the best prayer you could sayit expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding. The author of Philippians says thanksgiving opens the door to experiencing a peace that transcends all understanding. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Think about it for a moment. Peace in the midst of relational tension. Peace in the midst of financial difficulty. You name the personal challenge – there is an ocean of peace available to you, even during the harsh winter of life you are experiencing right now. Entering into that peace begins from a position of thankfulness. Not because of the circumstances, but in spite of them. Thanksgiving is not just a day to eat inordinate amounts of food with family and friends. It is the ‘secret’ ingredient that gives power to your prayers and opens the floodgates of peace to flow into your life.

Even during the holidays.

One of the reasons we have Life Groups at Sunrise Center for Wellness is to provide an opportunity to connect with other women experiencing the joy and difficulties of life just like you. Come join us and see what it’s all about. I think you’ll learn the same thing we have. That life is better when you do it together. Give me a call and we can talk about it. New groups are starting soon!