Monday, January 13, 2014

Stilling Ourselves to Give Thanks

Is it important to give thanks? Continually? My journal pages usually start out with a list of thanks. Usually the first words on each brand new page of my brand new journal each month (yes, I fill up a journal each month) have the words "TY Lord" (my abbreviated words for Thank You Lord), followed by a list of things that I am thankful for as I start out a new day. 

This has just become my natural pattern, a pattern formed over many days, months, and years. Sometimes it just flows, an automatic overflow from the heart, and sometimes it is a conscious effort to search for things to be thankful for. And I need to ask for His help, surrendering, depending on Him. Needing His perspective to offer Him true thanks from my heart. 

We never need to wonder if it is okay or right or necessary to give thanks.

"Be thankful in all circumstances, 
for this is God's will for you 
who belong to Christ Jesus."  
(I Thess. 5:18 NLT)

And when we are most in need of Him, is when we most need to give thanks. My hubby and I started out this new year needing to rest, having just arrived home from a student conference on New Year's Eve. And at the same time, as we started out a new year, all of the planning for a new year (which I love to do) left me feeling overwhelmed with the list of tasks ahead of us. We also found ourselves very needed by my 92 year-old father, who had some concerns that called for our help for several days. Rest eluded us, and the weight of responsibilities began to weigh us down.

But by God's grace (as I called out for His help), my journal pages began to fill up more and more. With thanks. For giving thanks is the way of receiving, of slowing and living in the now. And by His Grace, as we pause to receive His gifts, and give thanks for what we receive, we are strengthened, and our perspective changes. 

"Gratitude is not only a response to God in good times - 
it's ultimately the very will of God in hard times."  
(Ann Voskamp)

His will is to give thanks, and giving thanks brings His perspective. And having His perspective gives us joy and strength. Each day; helping us to slow down, and live in the now.

"Live like life's an emergency and your soul ends up dead. Life is not an emergency. It's a gift. Why race past the gift? What else are you trying to get to - the presence of God is in this present moment." (Ann Voskamp)

"Be still and know that I am God."  
(Ps. 46:10)

Thanking Him for His Spirit within, giving us strength and perspective, filling us with thanks and joy. Maybe this calendar year, filled with many responsibilities and tasks (Cru ministry, family, and so much more), challenges and unknowns (including a kidney transplant for our sweet granddaughter), will be a year when I will overflow with thanks. For when we are in need, we need to still ourselves. To live in the now, to offer ourselves to Him with thanks. Giving thanks, and finding Him to be all we need. And I pray the same for you - that you will have a year of times to pause, and give thanks. Each day, throughout the day.

Linking up with:
Thrive at Home Thursday

1 comment:

  1. What a good reminder, I have found that giving thanks to God seems to be the key to open my eyes and heart to see even more of the goodness that He showers on me. What could He possibly see in me that would cause Him to give me all the gifts He has given? Only He knows, of course!