How everyday messes can lead to a grateful heart.
It is so hard for me to trust God with the little things. So often those are the things that seem the easiest to control. But it's been so evident to me lately that trusting God and being thankful for the smallest of things is so important.
Obvious, you may say.
But for me, a "type A" control-freak, being able to see Him work in the smallest of small, asking Him to be there and take control instead of me, and then being thankful for all of it, is so desperately huge in my life.
When it comes to joy, joy that comes from a life filled with Christ, I am still so spiritually immature. I let my emotions get the better of me more often than not. When this happens, I forget the joy and peace I have in Christ. When I get distracted by all of the small things I begin focusing on the temporary bad instead of the eternal good.
As we near Fall, there will be an emphasis on thankfulness. Everyone will share their "30 days of gratefulness" or "attitude of gratitude" or "365 days of thankfulness". Last year around this time I came across a little quote, one of those pretty pictures on Pinterest with inspiring words you just have to pin. It said something along the lines of, what if all you had tomorrow was what you thanked God for today?
For some reason that really struck my heart.
I'm not usually what you'd consider a long-winded pray-er. Most of the time I talk to God all throughout the day, but with just a few sentences each time. Just, "I'm so stressed out God, please help," or, "I don't know what to do, God. How am I going to get through this?" Sometimes it's for specific people or if I see an ambulance drive by. Sometimes it's a praise. Most of the time, if I'm honest, it's probably a doubt.
But as I got to thinking about this thankfulness aspect of my life, I saw I fell extremely short in expressing gratitude. Most of the time, I'm just selfish, not even noticing that, for the most part, I feel entitled to what I have throughout the day.
Sometimes, if one little thing goes wrong, I write the day off as a loss. If my car doesn't start, one of my friends hurts me, my husband says the wrong thing, or I have a co-worker who's rude, I just chalk that day up to Satan's attacks and sometimes blame God for not being there or not watching out for me.
Ugh. Just thinking about it causes a gut-wrenching guilt to creep into my chest. I can be so self-centered. So self-serving. So selfish. So completely unaware of God and His uncompromising promise to always be with me.
"... be content with what you have,
for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
I am so consumed with the tiniest of details that go awry that I just forget God is there—or convince myself He's checked out. I forget He loves me intently and sees all of those small details that drive me crazy, and He is still working through them and in me. Sometimes He allows them so I learn to depend on Him more. Pushing me more and more toward holiness, even in my mess.
I am so quick to forget I have an eternal joy, and even when something in this life goes wrong, God has already won the war for eternity.
It's hard to fight selfishness. It's hard to fight entitlement. It's hard to fight self-focus. Satan uses these to so easily distract us from God, His goodness and depending on Him for our strength. But as I replayed the thought of only having today what I thanked God for yesterday in my mind, it made me realize the importance of all those small things. He's a part of them all. The bad hair days and the I-feel-fat-days, the I-don't-feel-good-enough days and the I-may-not make-it-today days (maybe the most common in this toddler+newborn season).
In my screw ups and let downs, He's there. He never leaves. And if I would just give Him all of these little things, they would become something so much bigger. A life not hindered by emotion, but empowered by faith.