In Everything Give Thanks

by Terry Wane Benton

Paul says, "this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (I Thessalonians 5:18). This is what God wants. He doesn't want us to spend our time complaining and griping. Such a negative disposition! His will is that we spend our time "giving thanks" but doing so "in everything."

In everything?

I look back now to my younger teen years where I hated myself because I was so timid and shy, especially around girls. But now I am thankful I was because it kept me out of a lot of trouble. If I had been wise, I would not have needed that ball and chain, but I was not wise, and God put the wonderful gift of shyness in my life to help compensate for my lack of wisdom and help me get through those years without ruining my life and someone else's. Today, I am thankful that I was shy. It didn't seem enjoyable at all at the time, but now I see the value. It protected me and others.

Another thing about self-hatred is that it is not wise because it devalues what God highly values. I did not like myself, but I learned enough from God's word to know that I should not destroy myself just because I did not like certain characteristics about myself. So, the ball and chain I carried so grievously were strengthening me in other ways.

My shyness helped me in multiple ways that I was not wise enough to appreciate. It also challenged me to work harder to overcome my internal fears and insecurities. It is the will of God that we look for ways to turn our negatives into positive things for which to be thankful. I'm thankful for lessons learned the hard way. At least I learned and grew. There are difficult tasks and obstacles in life, but always an opportunity to grow deeper in compassion for others, in depth of love and commitment. The "trying of your faith works patience" (James 1:2-6).

See the positive? No? Train your outlook to look for the positive that comes attached to that negative. In everything "give thanks." What a wonderful way to enjoy life! Who wants to go through this short journey of life looking at everything so negatively? That is a miserable life. It is the will of God that we look for ways to be thankful in everything. Train your mind and heart to give thanks to God every day. Thank God even for those unanswered prayers uttered in selfish lack of knowledge and wisdom. Sometimes even those turn out to be great outcomes. You may have to pray a lot for wisdom, but always find the positive and give thanks daily.

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