FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington hosted their quarterly Spiritual Fitness Luncheon at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., Nov. 21, 2019. The event, sponsored by the MDW Religious Support Directorate, featured the theme, "Thankfulness: Mood or Decision?"

The speaker for the event, Chaplain (Col.) Jay S. Johns, JFHQ-NCR/MDW Command Chaplain, referenced the scripture James 1:2-4 from the New International Version to illustrate the importance of using challenges to build perseverance.

"Regardless of what is going on in life, everyone has something substantial that they are grappling with," said Johns. "The difficulty in the suffering is not meaningless."

Using writing as a metaphor, Johns described how to approach thankfulness this holiday season.
"If you wait for the mood to hit you, you will never write," said John. "People who schedule, write."

So how can you be thankful on Thanksgiving when faced with life's challenges? Johns said thankfulness is not a mood, it is a decision.

"When we are in the fight and we have all this stuff going on it's very hard to see the forest from the trees, but when you pull back, there is clarity," said Johns.

Master Sgt. Naomi Rankins, the Religious Affairs Noncommissioned Officer in Charge at the JFHQ-NCR/MDW chaplains office, explained how challenges provide us with the opportunity to choose to persevere, making the decision to overcome life's obstacles, just as the choice and decision to be thankful.

"As Soldiers, as civilians, as family members, we are all faced with challenges," said Rankins. "It's our perseverance through difficult moments in life that continues to define our character, strengthen our resiliency, and prepare each of us for new obstacles we may face in the future."

The Spiritual Fitness Luncheon offers an opportunity for members of the different organizations and directorates of JFHQ-NCR/MDW to gather together before the Thanksgiving, an occasion to reflect on the many reasons to be thankful this holiday season.