We have had a really amazing Autumn so far in the Edmonton area. Some would say that the last month or so has been better than our whole summer, especially from the standpoint of weather! I am enjoying the fall colours, and the cool mornings don’t really bother me, especially when it warms up by the afternoon.
But I do notice that now that the days are shorter, there is a seasonal sadness or weight that can set in. At first it is a bit imperceptible, then it grows, multiplies, and if not treated or dealt with, can slow me down and steal away joy that I would normally have in the little things of life, like a hot coffee, a joke from one of my kids, or a meeting to discuss future plans for the church.
Do you go through times of heaviness when seasons change?
Thankfulness to the Rescue
It’s no coincidence that in Canada, where the weather turns colder much faster than that of our neighbours to the south, that we celebrate Thanksgiving a month ahead. It is through giving thanks that we have the power to break through the blue that can threaten to derail us!
In Isaiah 61:3, God gives a promise “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
A spirit of despair can also be translated as a faint spirit, or a spirit of heaviness. Despair, heaviness, and becoming faint-hearted are all realities that we may face from time to time. Some wrestle with despair or depression on a more serious or clinical manner. And almost everyone will face it on a seasonal or circumstantial level. However you may experience the heaviness of despair, the one thing that God wants to do is exchange that despair for praise.
Making It Practical
How do we praise when we are weighed down?
I practise thankfulness at the very beginning of my day. Thankfulness begins to strip away the feelings that build up and become one giant, weighty wall. For each thing I write down, it is like stripping off a weight from the bar at the gym. Before long, what was once heavy is now much lighter and manageable.
Today if you are feeling blue, try combating it with a list of things you are thankful for. Maybe at first, it will be difficult, but you will slowly warm up!
Often I have started my list with the mundane or obvious. Maybe for the blanket I am wrapped up in, or the fact that we have forced-air heat in our house. As I progress to number 10, I begin to thank God for the opportunities and challenges he has given me. I may even thank God for the cold weather that comes with living in the best country in the world.
This weekend, may you experience the praise that sweeps away despair by practising thankfulness. God is good, and he will get you through. It just may take a first step from you…”God thank you for…”