I woke up and immediately began journaling. I wrote down the names of people I was grateful for, and then I wrote down WHY I was grateful for them. I wrote about people I feel thankful for every day and people I haven’t felt especially grateful for recently.
Fighting for gratefulness is a battle not easily won. The world around us reminds us and loves to dwell on negativity. Just turn on the news or jump on social media. The gloom and doom culture has seeped into our every day lives, and honestly I’ve just let it.
My church in Nashville recently started a sermon series called “Above and Beyond.” Focusing during online church has been a little hard for me, but I immediately locked in to this message.
Our pastor began speaking on the power of praying for others. When we pray for others we turn the lens and the focus from us to others. “Giving thanks is a way up,” Pastor Kevin said.
I’ve had chains shackled to my feet, but this morning I felt freedom in giving thanks for the good people and the hard people and everyone in between.
My prayers the past month have been focused on solely myself and my wants and needs. But this morning I was reminded that my story isn’t mine. It’s His. I’m on this Earth to glorify Him and be a light to those around me, inviting each person in. Just like Jesus would.
By the time I got to my second page of journaling, I was in tears. It’s easy to focus on the bad, but when we sit down and really remember the good in everyone and everything, it shifts something in our spirits.
Writing out the “why” behind each person felt really freeing. I had felt trapped in negativity recently which has carried over into my feelings about other people. Being reminded that God created each person in His image made my heart swell with love for the people around me.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:6-7
When I was young, I had a thankfulness journal. Each night, I would journal a couple things I was grateful for that day. And it wasn’t anything deep. At all. It would be something like, “I’m grateful for my Nintendo DS and my dog Charlie and my roller skates.”
But in that moment, it was something special. I was telling God my gratefulness for the gifts He had given me, and I know that made Him smile.
God made us in His image. How many times have you heard that? Too many for the full weight and effect of that statement to really resonate with you if you’re anything like me. God is grateful for you and loves you. Sharing what we’re grateful for is an act of worship for our Father.
Not only that, but starting a dialogue with our Savior opens up an opportunity for us to learn more about Him and to learn from Him. As my pastor said, “There is a difference in knowing about God and knowing God.”
Do you feel like you know about Him or know Him?
Not only do I want to know him deeper, but I also want to remember daily that my story is His story. I’m on this Earth for Him.
Lord, help me shift my eyes from myself to You which moves my thoughts to the needs of others.
What are three things you’re grateful for today? I would love to hear them in the comments below!
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1
*** I wrote the above message on Monday. The first time I wrote it I was typing so fast my hands couldn’t keep up with my brain. I finished so proud of what I’d written, went to add a featured image, and my WordPress account crashed. Not a single sentence was saved.
I tried to not dwell on it because it really wasn’t a big deal, and I had just finished writing about gratefulness, so I tried to retype and carry on.
Throughout the week, things felt like they were falling apart. My assignments in grad school feel (per usual) a little over my head and now I’m having to basically teach myself since school is online. I had some frustrations about something I had been working toward diligently the past month, and to top it all off we’ve got squirrels running around in our attic.
Today, on Thursday, I’m not feeling really grateful.
And isn’t that how it goes? The Lord really reveals something to us and then we REALLY experience whether or not we’ll choose to apply the lesson we’ve learned or if we’re going to have to learn it alllll over again.
And here I am today, learning this lesson about gratefulness all over again.
I’m frustrated about school, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn hard things.
I’m frustrated about my future, but I’m grateful that my future lies in the hands of my Maker.
I’m frustrated about silly things like squirrels in my attic, but I’m grateful my Father drowns out the noises around me if I let Him.
Father, today I come to You tired, weary, broken, defeated, and discouraged. I haven’t been running to You. If I had, I would have been overflowing with Your love and grace toward myself. I want to remember I’m Yours and each moment that feels really broken will pass. But we don’t have to wait for the moment to pass. We can step on the cracks in the sidewalk and watch as our Father makes beauty from brokenness. He doesn’t let us slip through the cracks. Instead, He makes us new. He renews our spirit. And He doesn’t let go, even we turn away. Thank You Jesus.
Want to listen to the sermon I’m referring to earlier in the blog? Check it out on Cross Point’s Youtube page here.
Cross Point Church also has this really great resource called First Cup. It’s a 8 minute video that’s released every Monday / Wednesday / Friday, and it helps me center my day around Jesus with guided conversations throughout the video. This amazing resource can be found on their Instagram page. One of my favorites is: First Cup 5/25. Check it out and let me know your thoughts!
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