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Looking for Gratitude

Life isn’t always a bed of roses, so the old saying goes. And it’s true, there are seasons in life when we can get bogged down with busyness, or something unexpected hits us like a ton of bricks, sending us reeling. Life once vibrant, begins looking like a thick blanket of fog, changing anything colorful to a dreary grey. In those seasons, it’s hard to see anything positive.

I remember being in that place and asking the Lord “What do you want me to do? I can’t seem to get out of this.” Then a thought entered my mind, “Look for Me.” Wasn’t I already looking for Him? I didn’t know specifically what it meant, but I knew I needed to change what I was focusing on.

“Look for Me and give thanks.”

Each day I paid attention. I looked for small things I wouldn’t have noticed before and thanked the Lord for it. The sound of rain. A flower growing out of a crack in the sidewalk. The curve of the road opening up to a scenic view.

It’s amazing what I began to see. Then an idea hit me. Take a picture of the things I’m now noticing. For a visual person like myself, this was truly inspirational. I began a photo journal of gratitude on my iPhone. I gained an awareness that God was at work all around me, but I was so focused on my own needs, these gifts escaped my sight.

A heart of gratitude opens us up to a generous life. This is the way of Jesus. When we give Him the little we have, it’s amazing what He can do with it. In the Bible we see this time and again. After a full day of speaking to thousands, the disciples hinted to Jesus that the people were getting hungry. Jesus told them to go and see what food they could find. They brought back a boy’s lunch bag: two fish and five loaves. Jesus received what they found, gave thanks, and miraculously fed five thousand with it. We get wowed by the miracle, but did you notice the part where He FIRST gave thanks?  Not after, but before! I don’t know about you, but I’m usually thankful after I get what I want. When the disciples handed over their meager findings, Jesus could have complained, “Is this it?” He could have expected steak and lobster since He worked so hard. He could have gotten depressed because there was never enough.

Instead, He gave thanks.

On top of that, Jesus didn’t keep it for Himself, but in faith, He gave it away to feed others. This may be the most amazing part of the story. Gratitude opens up our ability to see God’s generosity, and in turn, we live generous lives.

I can’t say healing and wholeness happens overnight, but without a doubt, the way of blessing has always been found on the road paved with gratitude.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him." Psalm. 28:7