I’ve had this thought on my heart for awhile now, but the words wouldn’t come. When they did they didn’t sound right. Not to me, anyway. Then, last night when I was drifting off to sleep, it dawned on me that I was waiting for the perfect words; those words that would flow without forethought and would land on the page easily and beautifully. Don’t know what got into me, thinking that way. I know better. Writing is hard work, consisting of thoughtful wording and revisions.
Something else came to mind. While I was waiting for perfection, I wasn’t consulting God about any of it. Not like me, really, but there it was. Not only wasn’t I consulting Him, I wasn’t THANKING Him for any of it. I’ve been in the habit of saying, “Thank you, Lord,” for everything generally. However, it was like I had taken time off from this. Like my heart wasn’t in it.
I lay awake for a long time, considering why my heart had gone rog aue all of a sudden. Could it be that I felt I didn’t have things to be thankful for? I’ve been very sick with a respiratory infection for the last two months. I know it wore me down physically and mentally, but I remained spiritually uplifted through most of the ordeal. Of course, I know that Satan waits for just such moments to worm his way into our psyche. So I turned to my Bible to rekindle my “thankfulness”.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
There are many verses in the Bible about being thankful, but this is the one that seemed to resonate with me the most. I pondered the verse for several minutes, praying that God provide me with a meaning beyond just the words. I sat in the stillness of my Prayer Room, listening to the dog’s rhythmic snoring. I sensed God’s pressing on my heart. Really, there was no profound meaning that went deeper than the words themselves. Then came the realization that I had been missing the point. My usual Thank You for all You have done for me wasn’t what My Father wants to hear from me. He wants specifics. He wants everything.
EVERYTHING. God wants me to be thankful for everything. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the wonderful – being unable to breathe well (thankful that I can still Praise His Name) , being able to finally walk the dog (thankful that I am strong enough to at least do that). I am also learning that cultivating a thankful heart is a full-time job. It’s remembering to be thankful for each step I take, for every tiny thing I do all day. As with all things worthwhile, it isn’t always easy. I’ve always started my day praising and thanking God for all the wonderful things in my life, but now God is asking me to be thankful for the bad stuff, too. And I am. Mostly, I’m thankful that God is in my life to walk me through the tough stuff. It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well. It’s a blessing to follow God’s will and be thankful when things aren’t going so well. I’m still working on it. And God’s still working on me.
Yours in Christ,
3 thoughts on “Cultivating a Thankful Heart”
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is a great book that really helped me to wrap my mind around being thankful in all things always. I highly recommend this book.
Thanks, Kimberley. I’ve heard of the book but never read it. I’ll make a point to get it!
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