By Alison Feinauer

I love Thanksgiving; it’s one of my favorite holidays. Gratitude is a weapon ( a form of worship) God has given us to fight many things: discontentment, fear, depression, anxiety, worry. “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” (Phil 4:6-7 AMP)

I love the above passage because it is so encouraging to me; it implants new hope in my spirit. When I start to worry or get discouraged about my body and how I look, when my clothes don’t fit exactly right, or when I experience fear about a party where I know there will be tons of sweets, wine, and my favorite foods, I wonder if I will have to say no, yet again, or should I say yes? (There is a constant internal struggle about what boundaries I should set.)

I must turn to the Lord with these questions. I start asking: God what do you want to do in this area of my heart? What is freedom for me? What am I anxious about at the root? I want that root gone!

I usually turn to food for comfort, but maybe that could look different this holiday season.

Can God even redeem something like that for me? Can I enjoy relationships with people at a party and not obsess about the food that’s there, or constantly think about how I look or what people think about me? Can it not be a binge fest or a season of isolation and fear?

Yes, Yes, Yes! Because my hope is in the Lord. I’m thankful for the way He created me. I’m thankful for the strength I have in my weakness. He promises abundant life! Not isolation, not fear, not worry, but abundant full life. He started a good work in me and He will be faithful to complete it. I know I can’t do this alone or in my own strength. He has given us each other and His Holy Spirit.

My prayer for this coming Holiday season is this:

God, will You fill up my heart, fill it up to overflowing, so that I’m not looking to food for comfort and security… so that food isn’t the highlight of the party or the obsession the week before I go? Change my focus. I want my focus to be on YOU, God. I ask you to give me one person with whom to share the story of Your healing in my life, the story of Your grace and the transformation You are doing in my mind. Comparison is the thief of joy. I will not let my mind or my heart go to the place of comparison. I’m asking You for a new story, a new season where I’m not defined by what is seen but what is unseen in my heart. I’m so thankful for this life that You have given me, for the air that I breathe. Help me to focus on You; help me run to You; help me find my identity and confidence in you, my Father. You are taking me from Glory to Glory to Glory. I want my face and countenance to look different because I’ve been with my Father. Shine brightly through me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I’m desperate for you, Lord. Have Your way! I love and trust You. In Jesus’ sweet and precious name I pray. Amen

I’m not sure what this next season looks like for each of you. I know we are on our own journeys – similar stories and struggles but all a little different. I encourage you – be honest with the Lord, get vulnerable and real with Him about what’s happening in your heart. He wants to meet you there, right where you are, where you are still struggling. Be thankful for where he’s brought you and hopeful for what is yet to come.

I surely don’t have it all together, but I know that He’s got me. Each day I must choose to renew my mind with His grace and truth.