Actress Sarah Drew Encourages Others to Practice ‘Aggressive Thanksgiving’

Photo from Sarah Drew’s Instagram

Actress Sarah Drew Encourages Others to Practice ‘Aggressive Thanksgiving’

By Movieguide® Contributor

In an essay for Guideposts, GREY’S ANATOMY star Sarah Drew opened up about the lessons her father taught her about working through fear with God’s help and practicing “aggressive thanksgiving.”

Drew’s father is a Presbyterian minister, and he often gave her words of encouragement from the Bible when she was struggling, whether it was finding friends at sleepaway camp, or taking on a new role.

“Forget those clichés of the wild, rebellious preacher’s kid,” Drew wrote. “My brother and I weren’t like that, and I give the credit to our parents.”

She continued, “You’re in a fishbowl when you’re sitting in the pew and your dad’s in the pulpit, but our parents never force-fed us religion. They let us find our own way to God. It wasn’t the sermons Dad preached that made the difference. It was how he lived them.”

Drew told the story of a time when her faith came up with her castmates in a Broadway show. They asked Drew if she “really believ[ed] all that stuff,” and the actress was upset that she couldn’t find a way to verbalize her feelings about her faith.

She called her father, who dropped everything to come to New York City and talk her feelings out. 

When her fellow cast members found out why he had come to see her, Drew said, “Understanding dawned in my classmates’ eyes, and I knew my dad’s actions demonstrated the power of faith far better than any theology I’d tried to spout.”

Another time Drew’s father helped her handle her own fear was when she was facing motherhood for the first time. She sent him an email asking for any Scripture he could share that would help her conquer her anxieties.

His email read, in part:

Try to identify clearly what you are fearful of. This is important because there is very little you can do with a generalized fearful frame of mind. But once you identify more precisely what you fear, you will be able to find texts that speak directly to the fear.

While it is good from time to time to imagine the loss of things that are precious to you, it is not good to dwell there. God will give you what you need when you need it, not before. Practice aggressive thanksgiving for what you actually have now. 

The losses you fear may never come, so what’s the point in thinking about them? Rather than letting fears about a future you cannot control fill your mind, aggressively fill it with thanksgiving and good things.

“Like everything Dad has given me, it has proven to be very practical advice grounded in spiritual wisdom, and ‘aggressive thanksgiving’ has guided my prayer life,” Drew explained. “Every morning I write in my journal all the good things God has given me.”

She continued, “These days, our almost-two-year-old son, Micah, is at the top of that list. He is a joy, as is parenthood. All those fears that overcame me? Dad was right. They never came to be. For example, I haven’t lost my freedom being a mom. Maybe I get less sleep, but I feel freer to love, more compassionate, more understanding, more grateful. More like my dad.”

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