Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to God!
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are his— his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.
For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness, through all generations.
Recalibrating Our Hearts
I sit at the Thanksgiving table at my in-laws’, rub my full-to-the-brim middle, and swear I won’t eat another bite until Christmas.
Even as I say it, I swirl my fork on my dessert plate to catch the last salty-sweetness of my pecan pie.
While my husband talks with his brother, Andy, about how their alma mater, Oklahoma State, fared this football season, I stare out the picture window of my in-laws’ dining room. The orange-amber sun lowers behind the Tudor style home across the street, and I’m thankful to witness the glory.
As a military family, we’ve had as many diverse Thanksgiving meals as there were desserts on my mother-in-law’s buffet. We’ve had precious few with extended family — I can count them on one hand. We’ve had a couple with just David and myself or our family of five. The kids and I had one when my husband was thousands of miles away. We’ve had a few in other people’s homes. And we’ve had more still in our various dining rooms throughout the years, joined by a hodgepodge of rag-tag college students and friends who, like us, didn’t have family close by.
Thinking back on it, each holiday looked a little different than the one before. Either the food was different, the company was different, or the location was different. But no matter where we were or what we ate, the call was there, like steam rising over garlic mashed potatoes, to serve gratitude alongside the rosemary scented turkey.
A short while ago, my pastor, Bryan Counts, talked about how self-centeredness takes our hearts far off course from where they need to be. To prevent this from happening, our hearts need recalibrating from time to time.
Gratitude is one sure-fire way to recalibrate our hearts to North as it takes the focus off ourselves.
As you and I look ahead to the Advent season, do not forget: Whether sitting at the table, decorating the tree, or shopping at Target, we find a gateway to thanksgiving. We find a place to acknowledge all He is and all He gives. Our celebrations may not look exactly like we hoped or planned, but they may have a glorious beauty and wonder all their own.
As we near this new season of Advent, may we continually recalibrate our hearts toward the Star of Wonder that lights the way ahead of us.
And may we not miss all the simple, extraordinary ways Jesus shows up for us – -and is with us – -this season.
What can you be thankful for right here, right now?
What is a way you can recalibrate your heart so it doesn’t travel off course?
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Your post makes me think about the GPS system in my car, that when I go in the wrong direction or take a detour, the melodious voice says, “Recalculating”. Sometimes she’ll go so far as to say, “Turn back.” We kind of have our own built in GPS system – the Holy Spirit. When I get to going the wrong way down a street in my mind – focusing on myself and what’s not right and what I wish were better, the Holy Spirit reminds me that I need to recalculate. Most often, like you pointed it out, it involves replacing my “grumbling” with “gratitude”. Grumbling takes us away from God and into self. Gratitude takes our mind off self and refocuses it on God. When I really get off course (and I sure can), I’m thankful the Holy Spirit says with more force, “Turn Back”. This is my cue to get myself into God’s Word and set my mind on Truth vs. the lies the enemy is trying to get me to buy into. Right now I am thankful for a God who has been faithful through so many trials. He may not offer solutions or fixes in that moment, but He offers Himself, fully, to me at all times. Thanks for this reminder to recalibrate….I needed it, Kristen!
Debi Gable says
Thank you for talking about this. My life has become quite difficult since my husband had 2 bouts of cancer & now, has dementia. I was mostly able to cope when it was cancer. But, now he has developed dementia & is very hard of hearing. I do love him, but I am forever losing my patience. There are often times when I react with unkindness, & I am so ashamed of this. I spend a lot of time apologizing. And, he always forgives me. Every day, I spend time thanking God for HIS forgiveness. I find that thanking HIM for all HE does for me lifts my spirit. He has supplied all my needs according to HIS riches in Christ Jesus. I highly recommend spending time with God, listing many things HE provides for me.
Beth Williams says
I’m praying for you sweet sister. I understand what you are going through with your husband. Both my parents had dementia in all forms. Dad was even hospitalized. I watched as my aged dad took care of mom 24/7. It was tough on him. May I suggest you see if hospice can help? It was a tremendous aid to my father. No mother wasn’t on death bed. She got a shower & shampoo once a week, plus help with meds. It may give you some relief.
Karen Knowles says
Amen to what Bev said!
Kim VanPoucke says
Thank you both for the posts. I needed it as well and now every time I hear my GPS say recalculating I will be reminded to recalculate my heart if needed! I am in the car a ton for work so I will hear it a lot.
Michele Morin says
I love this image of re-calibration to keep our hearts on course. Mine goes off in wild directions when I lose patience with whatever process God is using to refine this stubborn heart, so for me, the re-set will be a commitment to live in the moment and to embrace the unknown, trusting God for the future and practicing gratitude for the right now.
Blessings to you, Kristen.
Mary Hood says
I love this. No matter how different our holdidays are, and mine are always different lately, our focal point is Jesus. Mostly in my home, it is the guests that change. Some are believers, many more seem to be the furthest extreme. If my focus is Jesus, I can navigate my conversation and presence to include Him, even if it means never using His name. The heavens declare the glory of God, Ps 19. He makes His presence known in my heart and directs my way.
Melissa Henderson says
One way I stay thankful is to pause and make sure my body is rested. With rest, I am able to fully enjoy God’s blessings. Some days rest is easy, some days not so much. Each day gives an opportunity to be thankful for His blessings. 🙂
Kim B Smith says
Kristen. When I first started reading your post I had the vision of the “Last Supper” and then the gratitude rolls in. We do stray from our hearts a lot in this materialistic world we live in and gratitude is the sure way to bring us back.
I enjoy practicing “Thanksgiving” all year long and not just the holidays, so out walking in our town yesterday I saw this sign:
“Let our lives be full of both: Thanks & Giving!” Galatians 6:9
Thank you for your beautiful post.
First of all, I am thankful you shared your heartwarming post with us.
While I’m thankful for many things, recently something miraculous happened that gave thankfulness an all new meaning. It numbed me in some ways and fully awakened me in others, and to be part of that I will be forever grateful……
Blessings to all,
(I am thankful for you)
“To Everything There Is A Season”
Rebecca L Jones says
I am thankful regardless, Thanksgiving has never been my holiday anyway, it never comes together the way I plan. I have to rely on His peace, he left it John 14:27
Beth Williams says
This has been a wild Thanksgiving for me. Both my in-laws were in hospital & mom-in-law is still. Hubby had to work Thanksgiving 2-10. I went to my pastor’s house for dinner. I enjoyed the company & the food. Thankful that my father-in-law is out of hospital doing ok.
When my focus is off & I start feeling down I re calibrate myself. I write out a thankful list. Seeing all the items in writing makes me realize how much I have to be grateful for. It also turns my focus back on God.
Nancy Ruegg says
My husband and I have experienced various “styles” of Thanksgiving over the years, including combinations of family and/or old friends, and/or new friends. We’ve even enjoyed very quiet Thanksgivings with just the two of us at the table. And you’re right, Kristen: each type of celebration has a glorious beauty and wonder all its own. To answer your last question, how do I recalibrate my heart: reading a few devotional blogs each day (including incourage, of course!) helps me recalibrate. God never fails to use the words of fellow Christ-followers to minister to me. You’re also right about gratitude. Counting our blessings is the quickest way to contentment.
Each of these responses were so meaningful and uplifting. Its so wonderful to feel the presence of other Christians and connect and empathize with our commom experiences and goals.