“A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.” Ann Voskamp, “One Thousand Gifts”. I read those words back in November. At the time I found those words thought provoking, but it wasn’t until today I began to grasp them. As I have continued in my journey to intently search for lessons on PEACE and incorporate specific new behaviors/actions this year, I continue to read His word from new perspective, making myself open to conviction, wisdom, encouragement. I have felt compelled to be more grateful, yet too often it is a rote list of items/things. Today, as I sat reading a passage in Ephesians 5 (verses 1-14) I was struck by the directive regarding what should take the place of our sinful nature or sin behaviors-those listed being sexual immorality, coarse joking, foolish talk … “but rather thanksgiving.” For a moment I thought, “But how can simply being thankful, be the answer?” My mind went immediately to words read in “One Thousand Gifts” and I pulled back out my notes and began to thumb through the highlighted pages. The sentence above with the scripture I had just read began to do a work in my heart and mind. Being thankful alters our mindset. When our mind is altered we behave differently, we speak differently. As our mind changes, we are compelled to act. When I am grateful for my family, I mean really grateful-not the “Thank you God for my family,” kind of grateful, but sincere, deeply felt gratitude for my family compels me to want to do things for them. Cleaning the house becomes an act of service, of LOVE, not a chore or obligation. When I am really thankful for the support of a true friend I want to tell them, again I am compelled to act with love. Why haven’t I really gotten this before? Does it matter? Need I dwell there? No. I need to rid my mind of the foolish talk (that is so my issue-negative self-talk). I need to be thankful. It is going to take some practice, but the spirit filled life is just that-a life of discipline.
I wrote a list identifying what Thankfulness does:
1. Builds trust/faith
2. Forces us to reign in the clutter/chaos/negative mind chatter and move forward believing God is who He says He is and that His promises are true
3. Replaces other thoughts-when I seek to be grateful the other thoughts are pushed out.
4. Prompts me to do good, speak good, think good.
All of the above move me to a life of PEACE. More importantly, the entire lesson today reminds me that God is much more interested in my “being” than in my “doing”. Hard lesson for a Type A person with innate desires to make a list and check it twice.