What really matters to me comes out in what I say and do in my unguarded moments, and it’s not usually what I would tell others really matters. Gratefulness is one tool God has provided for my use during what promises to be a lifelong pursuit of personal integrity.
From a sailboat at various times and various points along the Atlantic ICW. My general response is to worship the Father to whom I credit their creation.
The presence of the God who made the first two.
The ones that remind me I’m on solid ground when I otherwise feel I’m being pulled under.
“Enough” is food and clothing for today, shelter for tonight, a little extra to give to someone in need, and a few close people in my life to remind me that I have far more than enough. Ironically, I’m most keenly aware I have enough when I’m being sorely tempted to want more.
Jesus Christ, who offers me a path to an authentic life. Also, the friends He has provided who have loved me enough to call me out on my inauthenticities.
By offering it without qualification or question to whomever will accept it, and by sidestepping the trap of believing you are owed anything (whether their gratitude or your name on a statue) for your efforts.
This year, I lost hours, then days, then weeks of work to a personal crisis. My employer never pushed back, but just waited until I could pull myself together and make up the time.
The one in which, through God’s leading, I overcome my selfishness consistently enough to allow others to be able to trust me without question.
Love would insist on the highest welfare of the beloved, no matter the cost to the lover.
By remembering I came in with nothing, I am owed nothing, and I will leave with nothing; and that everything I have now or could hope to have in the future could come to me only as a gift.
Gratefulness has been a weapon against my pride. When my pride is in retreat, I don’t have to fear threats to it.
Watching geese land in V-formation on a pond once drove a multitude of depressed and resentful thoughts out of my head.
The way my golden retriever would flop in warm grass for a belly rub, hobby-horse around the lawn with a favorite toy or stick in her mouth, and look for “lovies” (my wife’s word) from every person she saw.
I can practice subjecting my volatile temperament to firm, objective realities in order to respond more helpfully to the real needs of the moment.
It gives me a chance to consider the perspectives of others that are beyond my own experience.
My hope is grounded in the saving work of Jesus, both for the remission of my sins and for the showing of my character. He provides a far surer foundation for this work than any I’ve been able to lay for myself.
I have no power to change or erase all the shameful thoughts, words, and actions I’ve accumulated. I do have power to learn from them, to change the patterns that led to them, and then to leave them behind.
Take something you won’t miss and give it to someone who might appreciate it. Then, take something you might miss and give it to someone who really needs it.
So completely different from my approach to the question, but so obviously true. I’m glad I read this.
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