Sunday, November 10, 2013

A thankful heart.

It looks good on pinterest. It sounds sweet as an instagram caption. It even reads quite nicely when painted in cute font on a random piece of weathered wood, or written on a cozy coffee mug. 
But its slightly harder to live out.

And by slightly harder.... I mean WAY harder to live out. 

Well actually I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t assume you are as ungrateful as I am. I have plenty of people in my life that are heroes when it comes to appreciating the simple things in life, and I praise them for their hearts of gold. So if you are in that category of Grateful-Shiny-Golden-Hearts then know that this blog post is not for you.... and you are cordially invited to pray for the rest of our selfish souls. 
(PS. I’m smiling as I type this. And I really do need your prayers.) 

Okay so moving on. November has been good for me. As I approach Thanksgiving this month, I am faced with the realization that I need some extra help in the thankfulness department. 

I first noticed it last week when I was in my room, feeling pretty sorry for myself as I was cleaning up Shaun’s mess, and it was like God tapped me on the shoulder and very bluntly said, 

“Jess... THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT.” 

In that moment I felt immediately convicted that I had been thinking about a whole bunch of nonsense, and I was actually perpetuating my own feelings of negativity by focusing on everything that was wrong with my world.

Right away I asked the Lord for forgiveness. Because I've learned an awesome thing about God; when He highlights our sins to us, it is so that we can turn from them and receive His freedom. (In the Bible it says "Repentance brings refreshment.") So I knew that if He was faithful enough to show me where I was blowing it, He would be faithful to forgive me and help me overcome it.

Anyway, thanks to November & the glorious Thanksgiving celebrations just around the corner, my solution from Heaven was obvious... it was time again for Jessica to work on having a thankful heart. ((See, I really want to be in the Grateful-Shiny-Golden-Hearts club that I invented for my friends a few paragraphs ago.))

Here is what I'm figuring out- even though there will always be troubles in our lives, God's grace comes to us when we choose to focus our thoughts on all we have to be thankful for. This does NOT suggest that we are supposed live as if we are oblivious to the things that are going wrong, its just that rather than being consumed by fear and worry, we are to pray about our issues and put our trust in the Lord to sort them out.  

In Philippians 4:6-8 (The Message version) it says, 
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

Our joy doesn't need to be smothered under the weight of negative thoughts & anxiety. We all have so much to be thankful for. 

So let's do it together.
Focus on the gifts, pray about the struggles, and enjoy this wonderful season of Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for you! 

(Ps. I'm also thankful for Manhattan Beach in the evenings. 
I mean really, look how gorgeous this is... And my iPhone hardly even does it justice. It's unreal.)

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