Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Time to wake up

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues. - Cicero

After a year of below-the-belt blows at our house, we have entered into a season of rest. Maybe.
Until about 6 months ago, I assumed a "season" or an attitude of thanksgiving was something that came after a series of trials or it came post-desired prayer answer. I don't know that I walked around actively thinking that but now, after some hard lessons in "being thankful in all things", I am now more aware that my mindset of 'thanksgiving after the blessing' was completely wrong.

There have been a few people, books, inspiring words, verses, songs and words from God to my own heart that have gradually brought me to a point of realizing that being thankful in all things means being thankful at all times.
Easier said than done... for me.
It's embarrassing to admit but it's kind of a foreign concept. Even to this Christian.
Thankfulness is not a magical equation or chant that brings a gift.
Thankfulness is a humble way to accept with joy, the small and the large blessings God has given me or will give me.
Having faith that He who started the good work will be faithful to complete it..and then offer thanks even when I don't see any signs of the completion.
Thankfulness is a state of worship in which I am supposed to be in continually.
The small things...
The seemingly insignificant, everyday things.
The things I've never cared to place a name on , "gift".

I am to be thankful before, after and during the situation. At. All. Times.
I wouldn't say I have been an ungrateful. But even as I type that I realize, yes, I have been ungrateful.

It's ironic that I had felt God working on me in this area in the past few months.. Simultaneously, I had been hearing about a book that was coming out called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It was getting amazing write-ups and seemed to be all the rage. Last week, I bought it and this week, my perspective is different.
I'm reading it slowly.
Digesting each phrase a little at a time.
I usually love to speed through  a great read like this but after reading a few chapters I am finding that
reading slowly will help me more in the long run! I don't want to miss every lesson in this new way of walking.
I'm dog-earing and underlining like crazy.
Rewriting and meditating.

One of the many phrases that struck me was this
she writes:
"Do not disdain the small. The whole of the life -even the hard- is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole...There is a way to live the big of thanksgiving in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up"

That got my number.
I think my preconceived notion was this: the blessing needs to be what I deem worthy of thanks before I value it.
I mean really, who values the depressing cold weather? Who is usually thankful for the months of unanswered prayers? When is it normal to even be joyful about a death or a family tragedy?
Be thankful in all things.
Should I be thankful that I have struggle?
I'm supposed to consider all things and be thankful in them??? ALL things? I mean, I know Paul was content in whatever state he was in but he was Paul.. I'm not.
Be thankful in all things.
So for me, personally.. the minute parts are sometimes very hard parts. Most times it's the insignificant parts. Coming out of a season of lots of significant "hard parts" I see now, in hind-site, the missed thankfulness in it all. I had my thankful days. And it's something that I am aware of but I'm not sure that I was purposefully looking for ways to be thankful to my God.

I resolve to not let it be so anymore.

And who is to say I am not headed into another season of "hard parts"?
From what I observed, life is mostly made up of "hard parts". But those hard parts contain bits of blessing and multiple opportunities to see my Heavenly Father really work  all things together for his good..
That's a blessing in itself, is it not?
Be thankful in all things.

In this book Ann talks about making a list of one thousand gifts that she is truly thankful for personally. A seemingly simple challenge made by her  friend. What a simple yet completely complicated thing to do!! Not complicated in the sense of it's hard to execute but hard in the sense of intentionally learning to recognize thankfulness and verbalize your thanks as a part of your moment by moment life.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

It's time to wake up and be thankful. In. All. Things.
Not for the sake of marking "thanksgiving" off of my good Christian to do list  Not for the sake of following a trendy book book club assignment.
But for the sake of His glory and my joy.
The two go hand in hand. (Thank you John Piper for illustrating that liberating truth!)

So here we go...

I am going to commit to posting once a week on a gift (or two or three or five) that I am thankful for.
{Thank you, Lord, for people you gift in this area of writing and revelation to your children!}

I to want to find out more about my God and his goodness. To know more of what his Word says about this and live accordingly. I want to put down my agendas and my notions, my plans and just be with Him and learn thankfulness. 
 There are many following along and filling out their own lists. I believe God is really using Ann to wake up our hearts in this area. So whether you choose to follow along to the 'T' and do all of the assignments and want to join a book club, just WAKE UP AND BE THANKFUL.
Even when you don't feel it. Even when the excuses and distractions multiply and distract.
Give thanks.
I've just started my list. So I will be posting soon.
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

No comments:

Post a Comment