"What if your blessings came through rain drops? What if your healing came through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near? What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?"
I find this quote inspiring and disturbing at the same time. I am aware life is full of seasons. Of ups and downs. Of good and bad. I also know that God has His hand on my life. Leading. Guiding. Beckoning me on. I know that God is good and only good things come from His hand. So what about the darkness that often accompanies life. Could it be that those are also good? Could it be that I don't have the perspective to decide what is a blessing and what is a curse?
Recently, I have been working my way through a book called, "A Thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp. Its a book that dares us to live fully right where we are. Fully. In every situation. In every season. In every emotion. It's a beautifully written book but it holds a HUGE challenge. To live. Fully. Right now. When I reflect on my life, it is full. But I do question whether I am living fully. I dont know if those two things are different. I know my diary is full of things to do. I know my head is full of thoughts. Spinning. But is that what Jesus meant when he said he had come to give us life, life to the full? I am not convinced. It has been something I keep coming back to, pondering how to secure that elusive full life.
Perhaps, like Ann suggests, living fully is about gratitude. By saying thank you for the extraordinary and the mundane, we open the present. I mean that in all senses of the word. We open the present that God bestows upon us. Freedom. Salvation. Grace. Blessing. But we also open a door to the present, the place where we can live right where we are.
The bible is full of examples and calls to lead lives full of thanks giving. But how good are we at really being thankful? I know I am rarely full of thanks. What would happen if we woke up tomorrow with only the things we were thankful for today? Tomorrow would be bleak.
Luckily, the Bible also suggests that this life of thanks giving is learnt and needs practice. Philippians 4 says,
"I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little."
I know I am so guilty of not being content. I believe the lie we are sold, that happiness is secured with what society deems as important. That life is not complete unless I have the latest....fill in the blank. It is never ending. What if I saw through a lense of thanksgiving? What if I sought to be thankful for all the things that had already been given? Naming each and every blessing. Perhaps then my life would be FULL. I would be PRESENT. I would be ALIVE in each and every moment.
And then, "The ugly can be beautiful. The dark can give birth to the light. Suffering can deliver grace."
So this is my challenge for this year, I want to name the blessings. Seek them out. Record them. Be content. Learn thankfulness.
* Quotes and thoughts shaped from Ann Voskamps book which I would highly recommend :)