Thursday, October 16, 2014

16 | Be Grateful

Here's another confession:  When I type "Be Grateful," I hear my mother's voice in my head.  I'm immediately thrust back into my nine-year-old body (it's a tight, uncomfortable squeeze), awkward and shy and clumsy with the words, "Thank you." And as a mother now, I feel her discomfort as well as mine.  We often feel obligated to be grateful.  Urged to be grateful.  Expected to be grateful.
So if the title of this post sounds like an edict or a rebuke to you, too, let's drop that misconception right now.

Here's how I want you to read this.

BE.  Just be.  In this moment, in this space, comfortable in your skin and relaxed in your mind.  Breathe and be.

And as you soak in this unique and one-time moment, this time dedicated to being yourself before your God, notice what gifts God has given you today.  What sounds or silences bring you pleasure?  What smells tickle your nose?  What sights make you sigh with contentment?  Slow down and savor the simple luxury of this quiet time. As you notice the common things around you in a first-time kind of way, what fills you up with that spontaneous, spilling over contentment? What makes you GRATEFUL?

AimeeWeaver via
I'm hearing my son practicing the piano.  Diligently for once.  In the purposeful notes I'm hearing echoes of the orchestra concert we attended earlier today.  I remember the soaring music and three generations of family clothed in amazement.

I'm watching my daughter draw.  Deliberate and comical.  Cartoon elephants emerge; they have something to do with science.  Her least favorite subject has transformed into the most talked about class, thanks to the humor and approachability of her fabulous teacher.

In these observations I realize that in sensing the world around me in this moment, I'm able to see layers — thanks to the slow stillness.  I'm able to look past the nagging that led to the piano; I'm able to link to the broader orchestral and emotional inspirations.  I'm able to chart the growth from where we were, in scholastic dread, to where we are, surprised by joy.

Our blessings aren't always delivered in bright packages with shiny bows. Sometimes they are tied up in barbed wire and soiled paper bearing yesterdays bad news.  But under those layers, God's gift resides, true and good.

Today let's take a slow look, a savoring observation, of God's good news in our unique corners of the world.  Let's fill up with gratitude for what we do have in this precious moment.  And because this might be a new and different and difficult way of searching our surroundings, let's ask God to be our guide.

breezybrookshire via

As I sit here in my house, my favorite coffee shop, my seat on the bus, my lunchtime corner — as I sit here in this moment — help me to look at this place in time and space with fresh eyes, tuned to your gifts and goodness.  Slow me down to a lingering wonder and awe that recognizes the elements you have put here, elements that nurture my faith, help me grow, and fill me up with your love and joy.  

Help me to suspend my earthly way of seeing the world.  In its place give me the gift of your vision, your grace-filled perspective.  And as I recognize your gifts, help me to glorify you by naming you as the good and gracious giver.  Help me to name and claim where these gifts come from, so that I might share your love and generosity in my corner of the world.
If it's a hard day for me, a day that looks devoid of gifts, help me to be patient. Persistent.  Expectant.  For I know that your gifts are always near, but not always clear to my human eyes or my human brain.  I know you will deliver them in your perfect timing, and I will see them when I am still and focused on you.  For your faithfulness, I am truly grateful.


Grace Horne via Pinterest

Inspired to keep going with gratitude?

Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, is a must read.  Or download her app for counting your daily gifts.

Or start a gratitude journal, with something like this...
iloveitall via

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