I love how practicing gratitude shifts my heart. It takes the focus off myself and steers my vision to the goodness of God around me. God’s goodness shows up everyday, everywhere. It doesn’t have to be in a grand or vibrant way that requires pomp and circumstance. I mean, look at how the Jesus entered the world – quietly in the back of an old inn where the barnyard animals were getting ready to sleep. Yet, the goodness of God was born to us in the humble form of a baby. Some witnessed this Goodness first hand. Most had no idea.
I don’t want to be found in that category of “most”. I want to experience and see first hand the goodness that God has surrounded me with and allow the transforming power of gratitude to permeate my soul. As of late, this has been hard for me to do yet I am disciplining myself to look beyond my circumstances.
As I write this, I have been in chronic pain for the last month where I spend most of my day sitting (or at least trying to) while making feeble attempts to take care of my two children. I have had so many moments – and continue to – of frustration and discouragement. The human part of me wants to stay stuck on this and throw myself a pity party all day. However, that is more debilitating than the pain I am facing.
So I have been taking shaky steps towards looking outside of myself. I am amazed at what I see:
- hysterical laughter from my two kids while they jump on the couch
- coffee with good friends
- Hope’s random i love you’s
- a simple prayer of healing prayed by Hope
- the way the world looks after a snowstorm
Having gratitude for things great and small takes me to a place that God has created just for me to see. These are His reminders that there is goodness in the world despite pain and setbacks; that His love is unending; and that I am not alone even though He has not lifted my pain yet. Instead, God has expanded my vision, giving me a chance to see a glimpse through His lens of how He views my small corner of the world.
Everything we touch throughout the day leaves fingerprints. And so it is with the Lord. In Psalm 118:24, the Psalmist reminds us that the Lord has created each day. Therefore, His fingerprints have been left behind reminding us that He is there. I encourage you to look around you and shift your focus. I bet you won’t have to look too far.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening,
accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, a harp,
and the melody of a lyre.
You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me!
I sing for joy because of what you have done.
O Lord, what great works you do!
And how deep are your thoughts.