on Gratitude

untitled-2 I'm making a sweeping declaration.  ( but not the Marshall Erickson kind, HIMYM fans)

As we settle into the month of November I'm going to focus on Gratitude.

And I'm not just talking ' we thank you Lord, for this pizza, bless it to our bodies-- everyone shout amen' sort of grateful... but let's be honest, that definitely has a place.(*inserts praise hands emoji*)

I want to be real with you.  I am not good at being grateful.  I've always been stubborn and strong-willed and subconsciously prided myself on that.  So to humbly be grateful is kind of hard for me.
As I get older though I find myself evaluating this more and more.  Do I find myself with the desire to have a grateful heart, or do I desire to compare- to measure up to others around me, as if they hold the secrets to where I belong in this world.
I feel like we are instructed from a young age to hone our natural strengths and shed our weaknesses.. Or if we can't shed them, at least tuck them away for no one to see.  Weakness has always been assigned to the 'con' column for me.  Things that only detract from who I am, or what I am worth.
I don't envy other's weaknesses- so I surely don't flaunt my own.  But maybe these "strengths" are really how good we are at hiding our weaknesses- And our "weaknesses" are just where we need to invite God in to do the work we can't.  If we are in a constant battle of strengths and weaknesses there is no room for gratitude.  And Gratitude can be one of the transformative things, if we let it.

It's easy to be grateful in the fruitful seasons of life, the times where it is abundently clear that it is a harvest season.  But what about seeking grattitude in the low valleys-the barron lands.  the seasons of growth and laying down roots.  grasping the soil you're planting yourself in.  Being intentionally grateful should be a lifestyle we aim for, but it doesn't always come naturally does it?

Gratitude humbles us. big time.  Our Ego and pride go out the window when we are aligning our hearts with God.
Gratitude allows things to surface.  This part, while not so fun, is crucial.    Those icky thoughts--the things that you can't seem to shake.  It shifts our focus to God- and not our issues.  Sitting in the presence of a Holy God, is so much better than a pile of anxiety.  There is no room for fear if God is our focus.  Our joy will increase and lets be honest, we all need more joy in our lives.
Gratitude brings us to a deeper understanding of God. there are so many facets of the Lord and he will continually reveal these things to us as we deepen our relationship with Him.
Gratitude spirals into living out our lives differently.  If we focus on God's will for our lives, he's going to show us just how much he wants us to be like Him. To align our hearts with what He is doing in this life he's given us.  
Maybe these things scare you?  Maybe these things seem out of your reach?  But what if it were simple enough to just say, 'okay God, I'm game!' and see what unfolds through through that.
If we look at it simply?   its really just a question of where we want our hearts to be.  Are we going to align our hearts with gratitude, or bitterness?
Let's walk  from a place of gratitude. Let's push bitterness to the wind and watch God work his marvelous plan.
-R