Not very many things remain constant in the ever changing rhythm of life. Everything changes with the seasons and as years go by, we look back at a life where things have just not turned out as planned. By the time I had entered my second year of high school, I had the carefully controlled ensemble of events that was to be my life perfectly envisioned down to the very last note. The arrangement was going to be beautiful ~ with all the pieces flowing effortlessly and coming together to create the most beautiful of songs!
That sixteen year-old version of me wanted to appear hopeful and full of dreams, but the truth is she was lost and full of fear. She had no idea then that all her plans, and her selfish dreams, needed to give way to the very faint beat that she was already beginning to hear in her heart. The beat that told her there was something more.
One-by-one those dreams did give way, and each one went smashing to the floor. Days of brokenness turned into weeks, which turned into years, and now, more than twenty years later, I find myself with empty hands, and a full heart singing a whole new tune ~ “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts…”
Each of our lives is singing a song, and I long for mine to be one of endless trust and gratitude ~ for my life to be simply characterized by gratitude to our awesome God who is faithful.
I have failed in this area so many times, and found myself in a place of ungratefulness towards my Lord, more times than I care to admit. There are times though, increasingly more time by the grace of God, where there is a sweet melody of trust and gratitude rising up from me as a hymn of praise.
Much of my struggle with gratitude has been caused by a misunderstanding of what gratitude is. I tried to act grateful and feel thankful, but gratitude is not something for us to aim at trying to do. Gratitude is a state of being; it is who we are becoming as we grow in the knowledge of our Father. As soon as we start striving for it, it immediately begins to slip from our grasp.
Years ago, before I knew my sweet Jesus, I tried to learn to be grateful, along with the millions of other people who followed Oprah on her quest for “Something More”. I began the discipline of writing a Gratitude Journal ~ 10 things each day that I was grateful for. While reflecting on all that we have to be thankful for is good, holding on to the promise that this activity would change my life is idolatry. And it didn’t.
The “Something More” our hearts are longing for is Jesus. The only “Something More” that changes our lives and causes us to live a life of gratitude is Jesus. He alone is able! The One who puts the beat in our hearts, through His Spirit in us, is the One who makes our lives sing. What song is rising up to the Heavenlies from you this Thanksgiving? Tonight, by His grace, mine is beautiful with all the pieces flowing effortlessly together as my God created them to be.
My heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him. Psalm 28:7