Thursday, August 16, 2012
Another perspective on gratitude
I have been away awhile I know. Sorry about that people. Yours truly has had a million activities to close out before a much-needed vacation. It looked like it was still a while away, but then one morning I woke up and it was the 3rd of August... I was to travel on the 12th. OMG! The flurry of last-minute must-attend-to’s took their toll on me both mentally and physically I can tell you. Anyhow, here I am trying to deal with the jet-lag but fully committed to my responsibility to speak what is in my heart to you as we walk this walk of life as women uniquely created to achieve the purposes of God here on the earth. If I haven’t said so before sis, please know that I so appreciate the fact that you take time to read this blog and allow it minister to you. Thank you especially for all of your feedback. Thank you for as many people as you have referred this blog to. I really am grateful for you sis.
Gratitude! An interesting word, you agree? It’s a word that speaks of thankfulness for something or someone; appreciation; expressions of value. In all of two minutes the most of us could readily come up with at least twenty things, people, circumstances, experiences, etc that we are grateful for. Between our salvation and relationship with the Father; the breath of life every morning; our families; our health; jobs/businesses; etc you and I undoubtedly have quite a few things in common for which we are eternally grateful to God. Halleluyah!
Today however, I would like to share another perspective on gratitude with you. As I read through the newest edition of TW magazine (Awesome publication by my friend Adesuwa Onyenokwe. Proud of you always girl!) a few days ago, the Editor had written about being thankful and how while it is always said that we should be thankful for the things we have, she’d once read a quote that said to ‘Be thankful for the things you don’t want that you don’t have’. That struck me quite strongly and the more I reflected on it, the more all I could think was ‘Wow!’ Profound right? Truly, in some situations, ‘Wow’ is the most profound you can get and this was one of such times.
For the vast majority of people – yours truly included, our day-to-day realities include a continuing focus on the things that we desire to have, be or achieve. Think about it! Reality is that we get so accustomed to the things we already have in our lives, that our energies, prayers, conversations, meditations, etc are focused on the things that we aspire towards; the things that we believe will improve the quality of our lives, our loved ones lives, our businesses, and so on. If we had to measure, my guess would be that roughly 25% of our daily prayers are in category of thanksgiving to God for our evident blessings and whatever is the most recent of the testimonials of His goodness we are currently experiencing. The other 75% would be in the ‘Lord bless me....’ ‘Lord, pls do this or that for me’ category. Is there anything wrong with asking? Surely not! The Lord Himself tells us to ask so that we can receive and that our joys might be full. He even goes as far as to tell us that we have not because we ask not, or because we ask amiss. So He does want us to ask of Him, giving God that He is; ever waiting to bless us with His abundance.
Methinks however, that we really should spend the greater amount of our prayer time praising God, just worshipping Him for Who He is and less time in asking ....for the Father already knows that you (and I) have need of all these things (whatever your particular ‘these things’ might be). I have learnt by experience especially over the past year and a half, that there is an overflow of His provision in the place of worship. Our Father just loves worship. That is the place where He simply smiles and opens His arms even wider so that more of His blessings can flow down to His children – you and I. Worship is the ultimate expression of gratitude. It’s the complete acknowledgement that your continued presence in the land of the living is only by His grace. It’s a complete acknowledgement of the fact that He has chosen you and called You unto Himself simply by grace.
As I thought about being grateful for the things I don’t want that I don’t have, my thanksgiving, my worship took on a different dimension. I am thankful today for the bad husband I don’t want and don’t have. I am thankful for the wayward children I don’t want and don’t have; I am grateful for the dysfunctional family I don’t want and don’t have; I am thankful for the job I don’t want and don’t have; I am grateful for the bad friends I don’t want and don’t have; I am thankful for the illnesses I don’t want and don’t have; I am grateful for the accidents I certainly don’t want and by His grace have not had. I had surgery on my spine two years ago. I can tell you that I am so grateful for the wheelchair I could have ended up in, but which by His grace I will never need. Get my drift?
Every single day, our Father in His multitude of mercies, allows all sorts of accidents, afflictions, and negative experiences to pass over us. Lord, please help us to be grateful for Your unseen mercies and provisions. Help us to recognize just how different things could have been in our marriages, our relationships, our families, our careers/businesses, our health, our finances, our everyday lives ...but for Your Love, favour and grace.
As you go forward into your tomorrows sis, let me encourage you that in every situation or circumstance that life may throw at you, flip the switch to immediately see how much more different, how much worse things could have been; and rather than wallow in whatever the challenge is that you are going through, lift your hands in praise an open your mouth in worship. Give full expression of your gratitude to the Lord for how much worse He has not allowed things to be. When He sends you a blessing or a breakthrough, thank Him for it first, and then thank Him even more for what could otherwise have been that He has not permitted to be. I have found that in this space, it’s really difficult not to be grateful for just about everything in your life really. Methinks that fits into His injunction that in all things we should give thanks ....for this is His will concerning us. Don’t you agree?
I pray the Lord will open your eyes and ears of understanding to receive this revelation and give you a new perspective on gratitude. As you yield your spirit to stay in a place of constant gratitude and worship, the Lord Himself will pour out even more of His abundance over you sis. I know He will!
Be blessed sis ......for you surely are!
WORD FOR THE WEEK
34“-How can this be, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God
5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
1st CORINTHIANS 1:
25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,
28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).