Celebrate the victories when there are victories +
mourn the losses when there are losses –
life is but a battle between the turns and the tosses.
I keep a journal, as most 20-somethings do. As someone who writes everything down, I love to look back on them and see both my triumphs and trials. Journals are a place to see growth, a written roadmap through every victory and every loss. I hold them close, as if letting them go would nullify the experience. They are the physical representation of every scar and strength I have.
Lately, I’ve been fighting for thankfulness. I am convinced that a thankful heart can change atmospheres. There’s something stunning about a heart that has been trained through both the triumphs and trials of life to reach first for thankfulness before all else. When we are intentionally thankful for what is in our lives, both the good and the bad, it gives us a vertical perspective to God, and keeps our eyes trained on Him and His will for what is going on. That’s something I’ve been fighting for- I’ve recognized that most of us go through life with a horizontal perspective, looking to others and society to dictate who we are and who we are meant to be. But we simply aren’t called to live that way – as a follower of Jesus, I (and you, should you choose to) are deeply loved and answer to a vertical perspective.
Here’s the thing- when we answer to a horizontal perspective, we are face to face with the enemy, the accuser, the ruler of this world. When we abide in a vertical perspective, we are face to face with the redeemer of this world, and the lover of our souls.
And to me, and my journey, the best way to keep a vertical perspective is to be intrinsically, deeply, and compassionately thankful to the Lord for all He has done and all He will continue to do. But that’s not easy – and it’s not meant to be.
Mountains, Molehills, and Everything in Between
The thing with thankfulness is this – in order for the deep peace that comes from thankfulness to penetrate the deepest part of your heart, you’ve got to be thankful for everything. Even the hard things. Even the things that make you question if God is even in them, even those. Even if you can’t see God within a trial, He’s orchestrating the future provision. And that’s the hope to hold onto.
Ann Voskamp, the author of “One Thousand Gifts,” says this – “Eucharisteo – thanksgiving – always precedes the miracle….Non-eucharisteo, ingratitude, was the fall – humanity’s discontent with all that God freely gives.” Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle- in order to see the miracle come to fruition, we’ve got to usher it in. And the best way to do that is through thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30- “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” We magnify God when we praise and raise thanksgiving. The definition of magnify is to literally make something appear larger, with a secondary meaning of to extol and glorify. It’s so easy to praise God in the miracle, but what about when faced with a mountain? A task or trial seemingly so insurmountable that you can see no way around it? What do you do then?
When faced with a roadblock, you must PRAISE… and watch that mountain turn INTO the miracle.
When we are thankful for the mountain, we are laying the groundwork for the provision. Eyes will be opened to the hope that he will provide in the shadow of that adversity, feet will be moved to walk onward into the belly of the beast, and the heart will be filled with the overwhelming knowledge that you WILL come out the other side, because He is faithful. And it all starts with being thankful, because a heart saturated by the goodness of God is always rooted in thankfulness. It’s our inheritance as children of the Most High – take it, and root your peace in His goodness.
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