I recently started working on a new devotional that I’m hoping to release sometime in April—we’ll see if everything goes according to plan. My devotionals have all followed the same pattern: I take a series that I had previously posted on this blog, edit it, revamp it, and turn it into a devotional to be released. I’m currently reading through a series I did a few years ago on thankfulness that I posted back in 2016.
While reading through my posts, the thing that I’m most amazed by is how surface all of them are. I think the content is still solid and a good foundation to build on, but I am finding myself wanting more meat.
We’re coming out of a season that was very gratitude-heavy. It seems like the month of November and the days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday are when we tend to talk the most about thankfulness, but these concepts don’t usually make their way into our daily consciousness or our regular conversations.
What I’m realizing, as I’m editing through these old words I had written, is that I want to live a life that’s characterized by gratitude, which can only come from focusing on the goodness of God. If our gratitude is motivated by anything else it will ebb and flow with circumstances. But I think in order to live a life of consistent gratitude, we need to be able to identify and address the hard stuff.
Today, I’m in a lot of pain. I woke up this morning and could barely move and it’s been slow-going ever since. I’ve been doing what I know to do and am taking the necessary steps so that I feel better, but that doesn’t change my pain-filled reality. Moments like today challenge my desire to be grateful. It’s difficult to thank God for my health and the body that he gave me. It’s hard to see my very fragile form as a blessing. When you’re in the middle of immense pain, it can be difficult to be grateful that God is our ultimate healer even if it hasn’t materialized yet. But I’m trying to adopt that kind of lifestyle.
I want to be a person who is filled with gratitude no matter the circumstances because I know that my God is good and loving and kind. When I understand that he sets his affections toward me and chose me though he had no obligation to do so, it makes it a little easier for me to be grateful beyond what I can immediately see. But it still doesn’t make it easy. I want my life to be like David’s. I want to be able to, in good times or bad, focus on the goodness of God, expressing my unending gratitude to him, based not on what he does but because of who he is.
Gratitude is easy when things are good, but it’s a deliberate choice when things aren’t so good. I believe that learning how to be intentionally grateful in good times helps us better prepare for the rocky waters of life when they come.
I’m obviously nowhere near where I want to be in this area, but I know that I’m not where I used to be. And my hope is that together we will be able to journey deeper and grow our gratitude.
What do you think about gratitude?
How do you intentionally practice being thankful all year?
To go Deeper: Read Intentionally Embracing Discomfort, A Look at Nehemiah: Are you Grateful?