Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: give thanks (page 1 of 2)

Thankful for Enough

This time of year we usually sit down to a table abundantly filled with all the trimmings and gorge, a way of celebrating the many things for which we are thankful. So not to be too materialistic, “family and friends” usually tops the list of our thankful list, followed by the many things we have that keep us safe and warm and protected. Good stuff – nothing wrong with that.

This November, after having spent nearly an entire year with my view flipped upside down by Brene Brown exposing me to the way we live in a culture dominated by theoretical scarcity, it changes Thanksgiving. Scarcity tells us that we have what others do not, so we ought to be thankful. That line of reasoning ignites a fear in us that, perhaps, the tables could be turned. We could be the ones living without these things. So we should be thankful for what we have.

That’s not gratitude. That’s fear.

“Show an appreciation or risk loosing it.” That’s the dominant mindset of our typical American Thanksgiving. (And, oh, how often have I used that mentality in dealing with my children?! I hate when my writing means I have to start living my values.)

We sit at our tables on Thanksgiving day, often holding with tight fists the things we love most, declaring our thanks to them and holding them up for display. We have this. And we may not have that, but we do have this. And this.

Take out scarcity, and what do we have? If we believed in the concept of Enough – that the world is big enough to hold us all, that God and the universe can supply all our needs, that life is not a Zero Sum game – how would our posture change?

I think we would begin to realize we don’t have a corner of the market and we don’t have to mark of our territory. We don’t even have to fear loosing our blessings, that if we’re not thankful enough God will pry them from our fingers and hand them off to the next guy.

I think we would share more. I think we would open our tables and our hearts. I think we would live with a sense of humility, that what we have isn’t always a direct result from our hard work. I think we would celebrate a shared victory and even root on those around us – perhaps even those different from us.

Isn’t that what the Pilgrims and the Indians thing is all about? Two groups of people who lived as if the land could support both of them? These folks decided, instead of killing off another group to have what they have, to believe there was enough for everyone at the table. The original Thanksgiving was a day when Scarcity Theory didn’t win. They sat down to their turkey and stuffing (not completely true) and saw they had enough. They didn’t have to fight. They could choose harmony over hatred, and collaboration over competition.

Perhaps this Thanksgiving we can approach the table with open hands. Not with eyes on what others do or don’t have, but with what lies in front of us. This year I’m thankful for enough. There hasn’t been a day this year that we have run out of what we needed. Money in the checkbook, energy at the end of the day, love in our hearts, even health in our bodies (said the same time that pneumonia is ravaging one of us in this house). We still have enough.

We don’t have it all. But we don’t need it all. We only need enough.

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Take a breath

This morning I read a Psalm, a poem penned (etched, more likely) by the Great King David on a morning before heading into battle. He spoke of waking the dawn with music lifted to God and ended by asking God to go with his men into battle for the day. In ancient belief, the only way to win a battle is to have your God win the victory. David was no different – he wanted to live to see the sunset and he was asking God for that privilege.

Today two of my friends will say final goodbyes to a dear friend. Just this week marked one year since another dear friend lost her mother.  People in my circle are mourning – parents, close relatives, good friends. Some of those leaving this world are healthy, others not. Some have enjoyed a life filled with days, others, it seems, got half of what was due. It doesn’t matter the circumstances, the pain of loss is often a cut from the same knife.

To King David, marching off to battle or to myself, sitting in my cozy leather chair in the living room, we are all asking for the next breath. David had an advantage as swords and spears tend to bring our attention to the value of the next breath, but it doesn’t change the currency.

I’m too much of a pacifist to enjoy a war analogy; instead I decide to begin my day much the same way. God, the giver of breath and life, be present in my day and continue to grant my lungs that precious inhale and exhale. May my chest rise and fall repeatedly today, to the joy and benefit of myself and my loved ones. Grant that same breath to those I hold close and may we each feel your presence in it. 

 

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it’s not what you do, it’s what you do with what you do.

Some people watch something amazing form and say, “I love that. I’ll find a way to create a version in my own life.” Others see it and shake their fists at the heavens wanting to know why it didn’t happen to them. 

I’ve heard in a number of messages this week that “God doesn’t rain cash from heaven.” and “Work is God’s means of blessing his people.” (Genesis and Corinthians – 2nd, I believe). It’s not works-based salvation. But it’s participation in kingdom living. Plowing up the earth and dropping in a seed so that God can make it grow. 
The things which we are thankful for this season may appear to have materialized out of no where and perhaps by miracle, they did. It’s a possibility. But if that’s so, you need to be thankful for miracles. But I’m making room for a thankfulness for the ways in which God grows a blessing: seeds of faithfulness. 
My gratefulness isn’t for self-sufficiency; not at all. It’s for the privilege of participating in God’s work. For the  invitation to be co-laborers. That when we see good in the world, we can say, “how will I bring that home?” and then we work the ground to see what happens. We have no idea what color or shape it will bloom, but we have a sure hope that it is beautiful. 
Thankfulness for family and friends includes a gratitude that they’ve put forth the time and energy to develop a loving relationship. Appreciation for material blessings includes the energy and ability to do the work which helped to supply the need. These things, too, are a blessing from God. Undeserved, but richly poured out. 
We can be thankful blessings exist. And we can be thankful of how they were brought into existence – through God’s hand, extended out and inviting us to join in. 
Perhaps if you’re not thankful, you’ve not accepted the invitation. You’re sitting alongside the pool but can’t figure out why you’re not wet. Dive in. Swim. Kingdom living isn’t a spectator sport. 
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