Blog by Kylie Chalfant
The holiday season has always been my favorite time of the year. Even now in my late twenties, I wake up on Thanksgiving morning and go straight to turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. There is something so nostalgic about watching all the floats and waiting to see Santa ride across my TV at the end of the parade. Don’t even get me started on Christmas…
This year, Thanksgiving is even more special to me, thanks to a few God reminders this year. Back in my early days of college I struggled briefly with some anxious thoughts and some crippling fear, but I thought I had dealt with all of that and moved on… Until this summer. Out of nowhere I started getting these anxious thoughts again and I began to feel fear start to creep in to my mind and my heart.
One night in particular, I was lying in bed and my brain would not shut off. I started to get really worked up which lead to me crying, which lead to me getting frustrated that I was worked up and crying because this was very unlike my usually even-keeled self. For those few moments, I felt so defeated that I was allowing this fear to take root again, so I sat up and began to pray out loud. As soon as I started praying I felt God ask me to start telling Him what I was thankful for. At first it felt silly and my list was unimpressive, but as I kept thanking Him out loud for all the things I was thankful for and digging deeper, my thoughts and fears had no choice but to surrender to Jesus. His peace came over me and I was able to sleep soundly.
Thanking God out loud was a game changer. It became my weapon and my lifeline. Reminding myself where He had brought me out of, who He had surrounded me with, and all the things He had blessed me with instantly put my thoughts in submission with His grace and faithfulness.
There was power in saying these things out loud. The more I heard myself declare His goodness, the more I was reminded who was really in control; who was holding my heart. Thanksgiving was the key to His peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) says:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
This verse, which I had heard a million times growing up in church, has a brand-new meaning for me this Thanksgiving. It’s not just a Christian saying that sounds good and makes you feel good when you hear it, this is God’s word and God’s truth for us! When I was feeling fearful and anxious, all I had to do was tell God and THANK Him for all He has done, and the peace He promises really came. Peace that doesn’t make sense in the natural replaced all fear and doubt. Thanking Him took my thoughts off myself and put my focus back on the goodness of God.
This holiday season, can I encourage you to dig a little deeper? The nostalgia and traditions, family time, meals, parities, and decorations are fun and important, but let’s choose together to make thankfulness our weapon. This time of year can bring up all kinds of emotions and memories, but when we keep thankfulness at the center His peace will guard our hearts and minds. I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of holiday season I want to have! Let’s go into this season being led by God’s peace.