It's the day after Thanksgiving and this morning, I woke up with so much on my heart. The holiday season has always been an interesting one for me. In about a week, it'll be the anniversary of my dad passing away--lodged between the two most festive times of the year: Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Although this could be a hard time, I recognize that gratitude is good for the heart. This morning, I felt like God was literally dragging me out of bed, inviting me to get before Him and be still. It was time well spent and this morning, some serious heart work was done. I took out my journal and Bible and began to write. What came out?
A gratitude list! Now before you begin throwing confetti over how "awww" that sounds, let me be honest.
It was hard for me.
*gasp* "Jenn, you have SO much to be grateful for! You should have pages and pages of things to write." Yep. I shared the same sentiments.
So why was I having a hard time writing this list? Why did it feel like I was reaching? Why? Why? Why?
And in God's gentleness, this is where He led me.
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Do you see what I see? No? Look closer.... a little bit closer. There! --> "give thanks in ALL circumstances."
Ummm...is God aware of what He's asking me to do? ALL circumstances?
And here is where the struggle began for me. We all know that life's circumstances are not always pretty. They can be amazing, dreadful, hilarious, heart-wrenching, hopeful and sometimes just plain hopeless.
How did you expect me to give thanks all the time, Lord? His response?
A thankful heart is focused on God, not on self.
|Yep, Betty. I feel you lol|
I was catching up with one of my girlfriends a few days ago and during our conversation, I shared that one of the most challenging things for me is not knowing how long a season is going to last. We laughed because we both had stories for days to illustrate the struggle. But as we spoke, I realized even though I don't know how long God may allow a circumstance to go on for, I DO know that He is faithful!
When I redirect my focus to Him and how much He loves me, cares for me, knows me, chooses me, protects me, plans for me, provides for me, encourages me, redirects me, surprises me, corrects me, is faithful, never lies, is always attentive....(yep....I'm tearing up now....ugh!) It just reminds me that I am the LUCKIEST GIRL ever! But when I get wrapped into myself, my vision gets blurry, I lose focus and can disregard His ongoing goodness.
|Lol!! This gets me EVERY TIME.|
When it was all said and done, I realized that His invitation to give thanks in all circumstances isn't meant to patronize us. It's meant to relieve us of being self absorbed and miserable. There's ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
So you're probably wondering about my gratitude list lol. It grew after God gave me this heart check. I have some beautiful hearts in my life and beautiful things happening. One thing that's happened since my last post....
I bought a house!!!
PS: What am I currently reading, you ask?