31 days to gratitude

Source: via Emily on Pinterest

 

You know this whole gratitude thing is tricky. Just like joy, peace, and contentment. I have learned thus far, that it doesn’t just appear in my heart one morning when I wake up. I cannot tell you how many times I have written in my prayer journal that I would like more of one of the above. Countless times I have sat and read my Bible, or looked at other women around me or at my situation and thought, “I want my life to exude ________” (gratitude, joy, peace, contentment… you get the picture), then continued on with my day as if nothing happened. A couple days later I will think, “hmmm, I don’t feel anymore joyful,” or I will get mad at my husband for nothing and think “well if God had given me more peace, like I asked, then we wouldn’t be in this situation.” Over and over and over again, I ask God to give me these fruits of the spirit. To make my life look like this beautiful picture of goodness. But, I am beginning to learn that it doesn’t work like this.

I don’t think that it is God’s intent or plan to make my life look good. So I don’t think I am going to wake up one morning suddenly possessing all of these good traits. I think it is God’s intent to show grace in through my life. I think it is His intent to show that when I mess up (you know every single day) that He still loves, honors and redeems me. That He still calls me Redeemed, Restored, Beautiful.

But back to the practice of gratitude. I think that that is what it is, practice. I think that it is a process of choosing to practice gratitude instead of complaining. It is a choice. When I feel myself starting to get upset because I have one more doctor’s appointment, or am working extra hours, or the insurance company calls again to ask if I have other insurance, I must choose, in that moment, gratitude. Gratitude that I have access to great doctors, gratitude that  in this economy I have a job, gratitude that Hubby’s job offers health insurance, or simply gratitude that I am saved. That when all is said and done, and Jesus rides in on the white horse and says “it is finished”. When the sheep are being separated from the goats. I will be gathered to Him as a sheep. And it is not because of anything I have done. It will not be because my life looked good.  It will be because Jesus died on a cross and broke His perfect union with the Father and the Spirit so that I may be united with Him. It is because when I stand before God, the perfect and ultimate judge, and He looks at my head, He will see the thorn pierced brow of Jesus. And when He looks at my hands, He will see the nail pierced hands of Jesus. And when He looks at my sin, He will see the red blood of Jesus. And in that moment, He will invite me to share in the inheritance of Jesus, the perfect son.

This alone gives me reason to be grateful. I can live in this reality and practice gratitude all day every day. And I want to. I want to stop asking God to just give it to me. I want to start choosing to practice gratitude in all circumstances and asking for grace when I don’t. Because frankly, I forget a lot.

10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darknessand brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. {Colossians 1:10-14}

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