“Sometimes, when we have too many blessings, we become so overwhelmed with our blessings that we forget to be thankful.”
-Lysa TerKeurst What Happens When Women Say Yes to God
I just got back from shopping for a birthday gift for my sister. As I breezed in and out of stores looking for the “right” thing to buy her, I felt overwhelmed by the retail messages assaulting me everywhere I looked. Bottom line: in order to be adequate, I needed more “stuff” in the right colors and styles to match this year’s trends. For most of us, our clothes go out of style before they wear out, yet we receive input constantly telling us that we need “more.” As I shopped, I was grateful that instead of feeling inadequate or out of style, I could thank God for my closet full of clothes.
As I drove home, it got me thinking about how often we are tempted to look at what we think we “need” and not to recognize all that we have. How often are we asking God for the next thing when we haven’t even thanked Him for the last one? How often do we long for Him to work in a certain way, but fail to recognize where He is already at work?
When we take time to thank God, it opens the door for us to recognize His blessings in our lives and to find contentment instead of always wanting more. Lysa says, “God accepts every expression of gratitude, but He loves to know that His gifts are noticed and appreciated, just as we do” (p. 81).
I love the way Sarah Young writes about thankfulness from God’s perspective in Jesus Calling, “Let me teach you thankfulness. Begin by acknowledging that everything—all your possessions and all that you are—belongs to Me. The dawning of each new day is a gift from Me, not to be taken for granted. The earth is vibrantly alive with My blessings, giving vivid testimony to My Presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find Me anywhere” (April 29 entry, p. 124).
For my final blog on What Happens When Women Say Yes to God it seems fitting to share two things I’ve pondered in the past week for which I’m thankful. As you read, think about one thing you’re thankful for, then take a minute to post it in the comments below. Make it your personal “thank you” note to God for this week.
Thank You #1: My Health
A week and a half ago I traveled to Texas to spend time with a close friend battling cancer. For reasons not totally clear to her doctors, she has lost significant strength in her legs and is unable to stand or walk without a walker. As I was pushing her around in her wheelchair while we were out one day, I was convicted about the number of times I’ve struggled with my body image. Standing in the unflattering light of a cramped dressing room and examining myself in the mirror can lead to a grumpy and ungrateful heart. In the past, I’ve rarely thanked God that I’m healthy enough to walk, stand, run, ride a bike and pretty much do whatever I want. Now, when I look at my body and a critical thought comes to mind, I think of my friend longing to be able to use her legs unassisted and I say, “Thank you God, for a healthy body and legs that work.”
Thank You #2: A Delightful Teenager (this title is not an oxymoron)
My oldest son turns fourteen in a few days. In many households, that is the age when the child you formerly knew and loved is replaced by a sullen and withdrawn teen in the throes of adolescent glory. I thank God this is not the case in our home. Yesterday, my son walked up to me in the kitchen totally unprompted and gave me a good, long hug (he had to bend down slightly since he is now taller than me). Not only do I love him, I still like him (and all indicators are that he still likes me too). The little boy that we prayed would be confident in who God made him to be has grown to a young man with character, integrity and a quiet confidence about him that I certainly never had at his age. I thank God for the ways He has answered prayers my husband and I have been praying since our son was born.
So, I’ve thanked God for two simple but profound things I noticed this week. Now it’s your turn. This isn’t just a covert attempt to get more comments on my blog, it is an invitation for you to shift your perspective, have a thankful heart and tell God (and the rest of us) how grateful you are.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:28-9).
Side note: For those who are part of the Focused Living Bible Study, you know that our year is coming to a close. I plan to continue posting on my blog during the summer break. You won’t be receiving reminders from Focused Living, however, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, there is a button that says “Follow” that you can click. You should be notified anytime something new is posted.
And now, let the thankfulness begin….