PASTOR'S PEN: Thanksgiving stress
"This should be an easy one," or so I thought. "How hard can it be to think of a Pastor’s Pen for Thanksgiving week?" Yet here I am 12 hours later with a blank document staring me in the face. What happened?
I’ll you what happened...
Other things got in the way. I had laundry, dishes, a pie to make, a meeting to attend and a host of things on my to-do list during this shortened week. I hoped to complete it all before Thursday so I wouldn’t have to do any of it on Friday and Saturday. My mind was so occupied with work and budgets and bills and chores that I really couldn’t think of anything to be thankful for. I’m fairly certain that a thankful thought couldn’t have squeezed its way through the crowd of worry, stress and anger to make an appearance even if it wanted to. I didn’t have a single thought to write down; not a single thankful thought.
But then there was a Thanksgiving dinner at church. I enjoy going, but how much would be left undone during those few hours at church. "No, I’m the youth pastor. I have to go. I want to go, but do I have time to go?" I went.
I went and the world stopped for a few hours. The tension of work, the bills to be paid, the chores to be done, the worry, the stress and the anger; it all came to a halt. I didn’t plan for it nor did I force it. It simply slid out of the frontal lobe of my mind to some hidden place way in the back. It was replaced by family, friendships, encouraging conversations, little kids playing, adults laughing and people caring for one another. For a time the world stopped and I remembered all there was to be thankful for.
One of my favorite messages was on Colossians 3:15-17. Verse 15 says this, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” If you want thankfulness you need to let the peace of Christ take over your life. This is a peace based on knowledge and truth. It’s a tranquility that knows God is in full control and completely trusts His judgment. It’s like someone lifting a heavy weight off your back and taking it on themselves as they walk along with you.
This Thanksgiving, take some time out to give all your stress, worry, anger and issues to God, knowing He is in control. And be thankful for a heavenly Father who cares enough to let you cast all your cares upon Him. (1 Peter 5:7)