As I wrap up this holiday season, wrapping and unwrapping presents, I don’t want to forget the gifts God gave me this year. It seems counterintuitive to remember this year. In fact, the New Year brings hope. I find myself grasping for the hope to forget this 2020 catastrophe. Many aspects of this year broke my heart, but during the sorrow, God replenished me in ways that I will never forget. He taught me and is teaching me to focus my mind on the good things, producing an atmosphere of gratitude (Philippians 4:8).
I can’t control the political players our country is inundated with, but I can pray for them focusing on loving them from a distance whether I agree with them or not.
The dishes in my sink may or may not overwhelm me LOL! I choose how I think about them. Yay! I have a family to take care of OR grrrr…I live with monkey slobs. I may or may not be a monkey slob too.
I can’t control the COVID virus, but I can use discerning wisdom to navigate my day to day, thanking God for His continual protection.
I can’t control other people’s fear, but I can trust God to be true to His word. When He says fear not because He is with me (Isaiah 41:10), I can believe Him readjusting my attention to Him.
Those examples shed light on the work He is doing inside of me. I have various items around me to remind me of things I can be grateful for. On my desk, I have a lion made of lava rock as a reminder that the Lion of Judah lives and breathes inside of me because I said Yes to Jesus. Also, I have a piece of bark shaped as a heart that reminds me of God’s love and purpose for me. Do you have a few favorite things that help remind you of God’s faithfulness and of reasons to be grateful? Why is it important to be grateful besides the warm gooey feelings it produces?
Thankfulness changes outcomes for us because our spotlight is on He who is greatest. 2020 brought obstacles and hardships that were beyond me. When I fought back with praise, readjusting my mind on the good around me, I watched God bring peace to the situation. To be completely transparent, not all days were that easy. It seems counterintuitive to praise God when we feel desperate. In 1 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat the king of Judah finds himself faced with a vast army moving to conquer his kingdom. He seeks God, receives a response, and then finishes with praise. We see the beautiful finale in verse 22, “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” As the children of Israel worshipped God, strongholds were broken, and the enemy was defeated. As we walk into a new year, let gratitude continue. I encourage you to bridle your mind, allowing gratitude to be your response to adversity while trusting God to defeat what stands against you. He is for you, not against you (Romans 8:31). Let’s continue our praise and observe the world around us change.