When Rebecca approached me about this month’s blog topic, I was a little apprehensive. If you’ve been reading, you know we are focusing on gratitude. But specifically, telling what it means to have gratitude in the season of life we are in right now.
If you read my last blog you may remember that right now I’m finding myself in a season of uncertainty. From my vantage point in this moment, the future is a mystery, and I’m learning slowly but surely to let God pry my gripping fingers from my plans and expectations and give them over to Him completely. I’m learning to trust. In a season like this, gratitude isn’t the first word I wake up thinking about every day… so to be honest, I had to do a little digging.
Cue the Google search.
“Examples of gratitude in the Bible.” Boom. In the list of search results, my eye found Ephesians 1:16. Sure, I’ll start there. Ephesians has been one of my favorite books of the Bible since high school so this could be good, right?
Ephesians 1:16 is part of the introduction in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. It says, “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
My reaction was, “Ehhh. I can do better than that.” So I continued my search. Twenty minutes later, I was a page and a half into my journal, pouring out my heart because Ephesians 1:16 was, indeed, for me. That one verse—one statement—two actions linked by one comma—challenged me in a way I didn’t know I needed.
See, Paul is writing this letter to the church from a prison cell. Yes. Prison. That makes the first part of this verse difficult for me to wrap my mind around. “I have not stopped giving thanks for you.” Oh really, Paul? Because if I was spending my days and nights in a cold, damp, lonely hole I’m not sure that giving thanks would be the first thing on my to-do list.
Well, I guess that’s why Paul wrote somewhere between 10-14 books of the Bible and I didn’t. Because not only was he giving thanks, but he was doing it continuously. Without stopping. Paul was using every precious moment he had to give thanks for the church. He was consumed by gratitude.
How does that make you feel? Challenged? I hope so.
This season I’m walking through right now is full of doubt and uncertainty—things I spend most of my days worrying about, and wishing and even praying away. “Lord, give me clarity. Lord, show me my next steps. Lord, give me direction.” These have been my prayers. Taking my stress and anxiety and begging God to make sense of it for me.
But what if my dialogue changed? What if instead of asking, I began thanking?
“Thank you God, for this opportunity to trust You. Thank you God, for where You have placed me right now. Thank you God, for providing for me up to this point.” And what if I did it continuously? Without stopping? How would my walk, my day to day, change? How would my attitude toward others change? How would my perspective and expectations of my future change? When we consistently give thanks, we allow God to saturate us with gratitude, and this gratitude reaps love, hope, and trust.
So as I continue on this journey through the somewhat difficult season that I’m in, my goal is to have a heart full of gratitude, and let that gratitude find its way into every aspect of my life, ultimately allowing me to love, know, and trust Him more.