(Source: Unsplash.com)

(Source: Unsplash.com)

You know what I’ve come to realize lately? That it takes courage to be thankful.

I’d prefer to be a self-sufficient person. A one-man-show that doesn’t need nothin’ from nobody. A stoic lone ranger that’s willing to help others but never asks for it himself. Because telling someone “thanks” means I couldn’t do it myself.

Admitting that we need others, that we can’t do everything, is a reminder that it’s not all about us.

But here’s the thing: Opening ourselves up to others also means we’re opening up ourselves to face hurt and disappointment. Connections with other people can be treacherous.


Admitting that we need others, that we can’t do everything, is a reminder that it’s not all about us.


Just this week, I noticed that I was unfriended by somebody I considered to be a good friend. We just had a nice conversation a few weeks ago, but without any explanation, I was sent (virtually) packing.

See what I mean?  Being thankful means I’m not self sufficient. It means I’m willing to acknowledge that others have some control over my life. And it takes courage to admit that I’m reliant (to some degree) on other people —other people who are just as selfish and as flawed as I can be on any given day.

But we need people. We were meant to live in community. Other people challenge us, refine us, and help us be emotionally healthy people. And the older I get, the more I realize these are the areas I want to be healthy in most of all — more so than just being well off financially, I want to be part of a community of other people who love me and I love them in return. Starting with my family at home and spreading out from there.


Other people challenge us, refine us, and help us be emotionally healthy people.


I’m thankful for family and friends who try to pick me up and I’m feeling low.

I’m thankful for family and friends who are happy when good things come my way.

I’m thankful for family and friends that put up with me when I’m being selfish (and maybe call me out on it.)

I’m thankful for family and friends who respect my viewpoints and values even when they don’t agree with them.

I’m thankful for family and friends who let me give value to their lives in the same manner I listed above.

It takes courage to live in a community with fellow travellers through this life. So this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for those who have the courage to love me, care about me, and challenge me.  And I’m going to be grateful for those who are willing to let me be a part of their lives as well.


Thomas Christianson is a professor, writer, and speaker living in the Baltimore area. You can find books, booking info, and blog posts at makingfaithpractical.com.