Seeds of Gratitude
God is working something out in me and I am broken over how tough this pill is to swallow. I thought I was a thankful person. I thought I had been doing pretty good, living with an attitude of gratitude. However, there is so much more to giving thanks than prayers whispered at dinner or prayers whispered after the blessing is bestowed. My mouth is great at giving thanks...but my heart, well, not always.
Oh, right...the heart. This is where I stumble and fall. This is where I see the blackness creeping up on me. Does my heart always line up with my words?
I'm really good at saying the right things; really good at it. Therein lies the dilemma. My words are empty to God, when my heart is not in them. I might as well be screaming violently in his ear. I spent many years saying things that I didn't feel or believe.
"God is good."
"I trust God."
"I am grateful."
I can throw those words out like seeds being scattered on the ground. But the soil, it has to be fertile, moist, lush...it has to be ready to grow that seed for it to mean anything.
My soil, it lacks.
For many years, I said what I knew I was supposed to say, but my heart was far from grateful. I saw no blessing in the cards I had been dealt. I saw no love. I saw no salvation.
I saw nothing to be thankful for.
I shook my fist in God's face, told him that because I did not understand I would not thank him. In fact, it felt like mockery, him wanting thanks when he had done nothing to rescue me. Mockery.
You want me to offer thanks while all the junk keeps hitting me in the face?
You're joking, right?
This is how I know it is easy to speak gratitude without being grateful. I'm starting to see something in all this. This call from God to enter into his presence with thanks, it has to do with something not human, not born of flesh. It has to do with him calling us back to Eden, to that place where praise and gratitude were a natural extension of his creation.
It has to do with trusting him.
I think I'm having a light bulb moment. I think I'm hearing that little whisper inside and what it says makes me gasp for air, makes me stop in my tracks, makes tears form in my eyes.
"Does the miracle matter?"
My God, he asks me that because he knows. He knows that I seek the miracles more often than I seek him. He knows how easily I am led down that path of selfish ambition. If I'm being gut honest, which I am, I know that I still often equate God's love for me with the stuff. The stuff he does, the stuff I do, the stuff other's do...
the wretched stuff.
That little question pierces my heart because it asks for the truth. Does the miracle matter to me? Can I lift my heart in thanks even without a miracle to speak of? Do I trust my God to hold me close, no matter what is going on? Can I be satisfied if the only miracle I receive is his embrace? I want to say yes, but I know I have more growing to do. God's love for me is so pure and he wants me to learn to love him back that way. To lift my hands to Heaven, to bow my heart low, and in the midst of chaos...
Thanksgiving isn't an accessory to my walk with God. It is the tree planted in the middle of my heart that all other fruit grows from. It's the "if's" that get me. If God did this....than I could. If this happened...than I would. If they would...than I could...
It's time to trash the if's. Better yet, let's burn them. If's make everything conditional. If means there is a stipulation, a requirement to be met. There is no thanks in the if's. I'm ready to be done with if's. I'm ready to be done with conditional thanks. I'm ready to enter his courts with thanksgiving in my heart and praise on my lips, no matter what.
There's only one if that I will allow myself to ponder moving forward...
What if I walked in thanksgiving all the time, no matter how life is playing out around me?
What if I did?
Well, I'm about find out...
Join me? Perhaps we can become known as "those" Christians who have gratitude seeping from their pores and who see the blessing in every single moment of life. "Those" people that seek to raise others up instead of themselves. "Those" people who are always saying thank you, always giving out of gratitude. "Those" people who really do trust the God they serve. Perhaps we can be the miracle instead of looking for the miracle.
Maybe that is the miracle.
Me...you...walking in humble gratitude...
Maybe that's the miracle...
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."