Be Grateful for the You God Made

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Gratitude (Thanksgiving), Identity

I love Thanksgiving. Giving thanks is essential to happiness, and songs of thanksgiving praise God for hearing our cries, answering our prayers, saving us from distress, and showering us with love and enduring mercy. Some countries set aside a day to be grateful, and for this, I am thankful. So what are we grateful for? For all our blessings, including ourselves. That’s right—us! It’s important to be grateful that God made each one of us unique and wonderful.

I’m not advocating egotism, selfishness, or vanity. Far from it. I am saying that it’s incredibly important to love the individual called “me” whom God made. We read in the scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18, Mark 12:31). So, we must love ourselves.

What if we feel that there’s not a lot about ourselves to love? What if all we see about ourselves is a person struggling. Maybe parenting is super challenging and we feel like we’re failing our children and ourselves. Maybe we think we don’t have the right skills to find a satisfying job. Perhaps we’re struggling to feel loved at home, or to find fulfilling relationships, or to do well in school. Or we might be dealing with depression or stress or weight problems. And on and on.

Then we need to change our viewpoint. We need to see ourselves as God sees us—wonderfully whole, healthy, beloved, adored. We’re God’s children. Jesus shows us how to do this through his own example: He knew that God saw him as His “beloved Son” (Mark 1:11). The heavens had opened to him; the Spirit had descended upon him. What an inspiring experience—to see himself the way God saw him!

Every time Jesus healed, he was showing people how God saw them. And it was always good. That’s why in Jesus’ parables, God always cares for his children. Jesus compares God to a shepherd who runs after a lost sheep and brings it home. He reveals God as the loving father who never gives up on his children in the story of the Prodigal Son. To the older son who feels slighted, the father says, “Everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31).

What if we open ourselves up to God’s view and see ourselves as God’s beloved son or daughter? What if we open our hearts to all the blessings our Father is giving us? What if we get the same glimpse of God and of ourselves as Jesus had? Wouldn’t that inspire and transform us? Absolutely.

Just think about what God is—all-powerful Love. We are God’s individualized expressions of Love. God’s creation wouldn’t be complete without each one of us. No one can take our place in God’s universe. God wouldn’t be fully expressed if one of us was MIA. No one else can express God’s Love in the exact same way each of us does. We are loved, unconditionally loved, by God. There are no judgments, no limits in God’s love.

So, this Thanksgiving, we can start our gratitude list with the greatest appreciation for ourselves, since it is essential that we love ourselves fully, abundantly, and enthusiastically. We can be immensely grateful for the individual God made, the individual God loves. Then it’s easy to feel grateful for so many other blessings, and it’s easy to share God’s love with others.