With four days to go until Thanksgiving, I’m coming in hot today with one question that I’m challenging you to consider before you get lost in the kitchen for the next few days cooking or before you pack to leave town.
Today’s question: How Important Is It?
Holidays like Thanksgiving can bring out what’s beautiful AND what’s broken in our relationships. To not avoid the emotional roller coaster, “How Important Is It?” gives you a chance to invite God to prepare your heart for the holiday. It can also help you to avoid saying or doing something that you regret.
If you struggle with control-loving behaviors like nagging or helicoptering, this is a good question to tape to your refrigerator as a reminder. If you tend to lose your temper or you are highly sensitive, this question can help you deescalate your emotions, especially if your family dysfunctions run hotter than the oil that you’re using to fry your turkey.
To process through this question, I’ve included four prompts that you can journal about, process with a friend and pray about!
What will you value MOST this Thanksgiving?
If giving thanks to God is your top priority on Thanksgiving, you’ll be less likely to blow lesser matters like an over-baked casserole or plugged toilet out of control.
On Thanksgiving morning, take time to declare this prayer: “God, the most important thing for me to do today is focus on giving thanks to You.”
If you keep an attitude of gratitude, you’ll be less likely to let little things frustrate you.
What Expectations or Outcomes Do You Need To Surrender
The same things tend to upset us every Thanksgiving, whether it’s the family member who always shows up late, the uncle who won’t stop talking politics or the feeling that you’re doing 90% of the work while everyone else is standing around.
Step One: List what frustrates you every Thanksgiving. Then, add in the expectations or hopes that you have for this year.
Step Two: Draw a line through anything that you can’t control.
Step Three: Surrender those matters by praying and giving them over to God using a simple prayer adapted from my Surrender Bible study:
God, I am not in control of others or outcomes. I give ________________ over to You. I can’t, but You can, so I will let You be God over this matter. Amen.
Do You Want to Be Right or Do You Want to Convey God’s Love in Your Relationships
Thanksgiving is the time for us to be grateful for how God saved us from our sins, not silently or openly criticize or shame those who might be struggling with sin around us.
Just like Peter boasted that he’d defend Jesus before denying Christ three times (Luke 22:61), you must be on guard not to become prideful in your faith. This happens when you look at the people around you and like the pharisee in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:11), you look at them and think “Thank God that I’m not a sinner like them.”
Where do you need to stop the unloving type of judging? Ask God to fill your heart wit His love and renew your commitment to praying for the struggling and messy lives around your Thanksgiving table.
Giving Yourself Permission to NOT Respond
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Some people like to stir the pot and argue. You don’t have to be one of them. You have permission to NOT answer a conversial question or take sides in a debate.
How do you extract yourself a potential verbal fight? In a word: Redirect. Here’s what it sounds like: “I’m glad that we are here to share Thanksgiving, but I don’t want to talk about (topic) today. I’d rather hear more about what you’ve been enjoying in life or what you’re looking forward to this holiday season.”
Which prompt(s) resonated with you today? Where do you need to consider the question “How Important Is It?” for your Thanksgiving holiday?