Now I'm not just talking about days that feel like mundane "Mondays." I'm talking about EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Because for so many of us, there's a real frustration to life in the ebbs and flows. The biggest frustration? Well, personally it's a gratitude problem.
While I may not have a cheering section every morning pumping me up, I am also not the first person to turn to God and greet or cheer Him on in the morning either. (**gut check, mic drop, and I also lost a few of you to the God plug...**) I'm just trying to keep it real here. We'd all love to say we are positive people, that we are grateful people, that we are good at loving and at the least giving encouragement. I'd like to challenge all (including myself) in this; because, are we really all of those things?
As I begin to go about my day, sometimes it's as if the first thing my heart is waiting to do is complain about something. My hopes are set low, because after all it's just another (insert current day of the week). So the moment my kid is sitting on the floor with his shoes still untied after the 100th time of me asking him to get out the door for school, or the moment when I'm scrolling through my social media feed of choice and I see something that conflicts with my personal views, or the moment I go to get the laundry from the dryer only to find I left it in the washer overnight.... in those moments, it's so easy to just sit in the low hope and drop expectations even lower only to find that your purpose isn't even a focus (let alone a priority) anymore.
and it's A LOT to say the least...
How could that be? How is it possible that we would live our day to day lives and not have our purpose as a priority? Once again, may I suggest that maybe, just maybe, we have ourselves a gratitude problem? Some of you are still confused? The "Yada, yada... count your blessings... serve one another with a grateful heart... yada yada" doesn't change your current situation. It's more than anyone you know is going through. There's this heaviness or burden you alone are bearing, and it's A LOT to say the least. And may I say... drumroll please... it's a gratitude problem.
Life is going to move, because when it stops, well... you're dead. (**sorry morbid turn, I'll get back on track**) Really though, one thing we are promised in this YOLO of a life we live, is that we'll go through trials (John 16:33). Some trials will look like the little morning frustrations, and some will be the life-altering kind you never saw coming. The biggest and best thing we have the privilege of doing during it all is to count it ALL joy.
So what's the problem with gratitude? Well, I'd venture to say, we are doing it wrong. At least when it comes to Jesus. (**I know, another Christianesque insert, but please, you've got this far might as well finish!**) The first gratitude we have the utmost potential to give up, is a gratitude for our Savior himself. Think about it. (Especially you Christian!) Jesus Christ died on a cross so that you would know Him for all that He is (John 15:9-13). How often do you send up a thank you outside of church on Sunday for that? How often do you talk about all that Christ did for you with others? I'm not excluding myself on this by any means. I am not perfect and have not given Jesus even close to all that I could when it comes to the gratitude He deserves. I also know, if I were to wake up every morning with the thought that someone died for me to experience each and every day to the full (John 10:10), my hopes and purpose for each day would be at an all time high!
does God just deserve our "at least" prayers?
What else? Well, when you are the most grateful in the midst of trial, do you ever thank God for the trial itself? (**ew, gross, nope now she's crazy**) I get it, life can have a huge amount of suck! There are plain hard days where attack after attack after attack happens and the last thing on the list of how to survive for dummies is "just thank God for this." Instead, we tend to go to God with the: "at least there is air in my lungs, and I'm alive" prayers. But does God just deserve our "at least" prayers? We have a big God who deserves our all. If that's where you have to start, start there but don't stop. Keep praising God, because ultimately He is not only for you but He's that good! If it takes another storm for Him to prove that to you, He'll always allow the storm so that He can miraculously walk steady in the midst of it with you. What if we challenged ourself to think past the least of our gratitude and into the utmost of praising God for all that He is?
John Piper has said, "God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him." Talk about challenging! To take it a step further, how can you be truly satisfied in something you're not grateful for? Like I said, it's a gratitude problem. If you are looking for your purpose, look no further than glorifying God. It is His design for your life, and it's not a secret. It's something you get to live in freely. It is the most satisfying and hope-fueling way to live each and every day.
As Christians, it can be easy to feel distant from God. There are definitely times where we don't feel like worshiping or being grateful (especially for the trials). But those are the times to draw close and genuinely be grateful for all that He is. It's in those times He is faithful, and near. It's in those times you have the ability to live on purpose in your purpose to the utmost of your ability. It is then when you are most able to worship God with everything that you have. It is then, your vulnerability and genuine-self is alone with God. When you lean in then, you're in the safest and best place you'll ever be in this life.
James 1:2-8 ESV
So here's to you... those in the storms, trials, & suck. Here's to you not being tossed by the wind or waves, but abiding in the Peace that has the power to calm them. Here's to you being so intimately close to and with God. To needing NOTHING and enduring in faith. Here's to your hope being fueled and your purpose lived out. Here's to you finding a grateful heart. To being blessed, encouraged, and satisfied. Here's to glorifying God!