I’m Tired of Being Thankful

Erik Cooper —  November 25, 2014 — 6 Comments

John Madden’s famous six legged turkey is being prepped for Thursday’s NFL postgame show.

Church signs are splashed with Thanksgiving themed bible verses (which, let’s admit, is a welcome change from most church sign content).

Facebook walls are awash in “thankfulness challenges” and clipart quotes about turkeys and pilgrims.

My kids Thanksgiving school crafts adorn the refrigerator door.

Charlie Brown is once again convincing himself that he can actually kick that football.

And retail stores are filled with….well, who are we kidding? They’ve been decorated for Christmas since Labor Day.

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Thanksgiving is here! It’s hard to ignore. It’s everywhere. But can I be honest with you? I’m sorta tired of being thankful. Yeah, I am. I’m just going to take a few minutes here and call it like it is.

Thankfulness is hard.

You know why? Because thankfulness forces me to accept that I’m not the source of things. That there is something bigger than me. That all my blessings, my relationships, my resources, my opportunities, my food and shelter, my creativity, my inspiration, my parents, my kids, my friends, my coworkers, my money, my successes, my joy, my purpose, my identity, my meaning, my very next breath…

All of it.

Every. Last. Bit.

Is a gift to me.

And I hate that. No, I mean I really do.

I. Hate. It.

I don’t want to be thankful. Thankfulness means I’m in need. I’m needy!? Who wants to be in need? I mean, come on, really?! I want to be the author, the creator, the origin, not the recipient! I want to be in control, to be strong, to be powerful and put together.

I don’t want to be thankful. I want to be thanked.

Yet with every passing year, I become more and more aware of my true makeup. I am weak. I am broken. I lack. I need help. Geez, doesn’t that sound empowering?

Or is it?

In some great gospel paradox, with every downward step I seem to find myself rising higher. With every admission of inadequacy, I find myself growing stronger. With every acknowledgement of brokenness, I find myself a little bit more whole. With the loss of self-made meaning, I find more of my true identity.

Such is the mystery of grace.

So perhaps I’m not actually tired of being thankful. Perhaps I’m just tired. Tired of pretending to be put together. Tired of acting like I’ve got it all figured out. Tired of trying to be the central character of my own story. Tired of striving to become my own savior.

The strength, and control, and peace, and connection, and wholeness, and power I so desperately long to construct can only be created when I stop looking for it inside of myself.

I was made to be thankful.

So let’s eagerly humble ourselves this Thanksgiving, and find our greatest joy in our need to give thanks.

6 responses to I’m Tired of Being Thankful

  1. Once again, Erik, you’ve so eloquently spoken on a topic that is near to my heart. I get it…I don’t want to be needy either. And I certainly don’t want to appear to others as though I don’t have ‘it’ together. But alas, I can’t make it through. one. single. day. without Him. Most days, I can’t even make it through the morning without Him. Thank you for your words, for they are truly a gift to me.

  2. I enjoy your real thoughts and feelings. They are yours and I am thankful you shared them for us. 😉

  3. I’ve written an article for the current issue of SPAG Magazine on “When God is silent in the midst of trials,” sharing from my own personal perspective. One of the main things I eventually learned (after two major trials) is that I can’t do it on my own. While taking pride in doing things ourselves is ok, it’s when we start to delude ourselves in to thinking that everything is going well because ‘I’m in control,’ that we have a problem.

    Great article – I’d love to use it in a future issue of SPAG Magazine – perhaps thanksgiving in 2017? 🙂

    • Hi Vicki! Thanks for your encouraging comment (you are welcome to use this anywhere at any time).

      Isn’t it beautifully gut-wrenching to realize that our trials actually expose us to our need for the Savior we’ve needed all along? I’m glad you’re finding some redemption in these two major life-difficulties. Being “in control” isn’t all we think it is. 🙂

      Just curious, how did you find this post? It’s a few years old. And am I seeing right that you are in Australia?

      • Hi Erik

        Yes, I’m based in Australia, although SPAG Magazine originated here, it’s slowly spreading into other countries.

        I’m not exactly sure where I found your article – possibly one of my American friends may have shared it on Facebook. I do so much research that it’s impossible for me to keep track of exactly how and where I find good articles.

        Yes, those trials sure show us our weaknesses and our need for God – I look back at my early years as a Christian and recognise that if I’d never gone through any of my trials, I’d likely still be that immature, weak and cowardly Christian. I’m still a coward now – I’m under no illusions that I have any strength of my own when it comes to difficulties. It’s those very trials that have cemented my faith in Christ. Although when I was in pain and suffering, I simply couldn’t understand why God would allow me, his faithful daughter to have to suffer like that. While I would rather have had God grow me in less painful ways, I acknowledge that in my case at least, it was necessary so that I had to learn to give it over to God, and not try to rely on myself.

        Thank you for your approval to use your article – that would be fantastic 🙂

        We also provide a photo of our authors with a small bio – if you could send that to me via email, that would be terrific – thanks so much.

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