As I finished writing the Living Content series, the Lord continued to talk to me about gratitude. I’m beginning to see that the importance of gratitude is even greater than most of us realize. Gratitude is KEY to our faith, which is why it’s the thing the enemy is constantly trying to rob us of.
When I talk to people I always hear comments like – “I wish I had more hours in my day”, “I wish my husband would help out more around the house”, “I wish my kids wouldn’t be so difficult all the time”, “I wish we had more space in our house,” etc., you get the idea, and I know you know what I’m talking about.
We spend so much of our time dwelling on our “I wish” thoughts because it’s so easy to focus on what we don’t have. This is exactly what the enemy wants of you. He will continually point out the things you don’t have, to keep you focusing on the “I wish”, instead of focusing on what you DO have. If he can keep you focused on what you don’t have then he knows your heart and your attention won’t turn toward the Lord, and he will have your attention.
When I started thinking about this post the Lord reminded me, #1 that it’s the month of Thanksgiving (the perfect time to talk about gratitude) and #2 that 7 years ago it was my friend’s 30 Days of Thankfulness posts that started me on the journey, that lead me to where I am today. 7 years ago I was reading a friend’s blog, and all the things she was thankful for, when I was so inspired that I wanted to start blogging again. A month and a half later I started Ask Anna and the rest is history.
Her willingness to share publicly about the things she was thankful for, changed my life forever.
I’d be willing to bet that if we spent more time talking about the things we’re thankful for, instead of talking about all the things we wish would happen, we would change lives too.
I know we are all in different places in life, but each and every one of us have things we can be thankful for. Melissa Kruger says it like this, “Our desire in each season must begin with the quest to know God more fully in whatever set of circumstances He has placed us.” No matter what our circumstances are, we are called to seek the Lord. The best way to do that is by praising Him, worshiping Him and honoring Him with a thankful heart.
In the Passion Translation, Psalm 35 is titled “Rescue Me”. The entire Psalm is David talking about how his accusers are out to get him, which I know we have all been there at times. At times we feel like the whole world is out to get us so what do we do? We wallow in our pain, we complain about it to our friends, we throw ourselves a pity party and talk about how unfair life is, to anyone who will listen. But what does David do? David ends the chapter saying,
But let all my true friends shout for joy, all those who know and love what I do for [the Lord]. Let them all say, ‘The Lord will be glorified through it all! God will still bless His servant!’ Then I won’t be able to hold it in – everyone will hear my joyous praises all day long! Your righteousness will be the theme of my glory-song of praise!” Psalm 35:27-28 (tPt)
When was the last time you felt the weight of the world on your shoulders and you broke out into a “glory-song of praise”?
The enemy knows that if we break out in praise, with a heart of gratitude, then he loses all the power over us. That’s why you hear in your mind, things like, “It’s okay to be mad, it’s not fair that you have to. . .” or “You have a right to be upset about this, everyone else has. . .”.
Lies. All those justifications of our ungratefulness are lies.
The opposite of those lies is what we’re really called to do, it’s not okay to throw yourself a pity party because that’s not who you’re called to be. As a follower of Christ you’re called to –
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Believe me, I understand life is not always made up of sunshine and roses. In fact, as I write this I’m deeply wrestling through something with the Lord. My heart is so heavy at times that the weight feels like it’s going to be too much to bear and I won’t be able to push through. But it’s in those moments I find myself craving the presence of the Lord.
Instead of giving into the temptation of the enemy, and feeling sorry for my circumstances, I remind myself of the Lord’s promises and I remind myself that He is a faithful, loving Father, who will never let me down, and then I turn on worship music. Just like David, I find my heart of gratitude in worship. Worship helps me lean into the heart of God and remember all the things I DO have, and how MUCH I have to be thankful for!
If we want to find joy, if we want to experience peace and the presence of the Lord, we must have a heart of gratitude. If we only ever focus on what we don’t have, we’ll never be able to experience the fullness of all the Lord has for us. God’s provision will never be enough if we give the enemy power in our thoughts. No matter how much the Lord provides for you, the enemy will ALWAYS tell you it’s not enough.
I challenge you to take away the power of the enemy, don’t let him dwell in your thoughts anymore. Yes, your circumstances, or your situation might suck, but I guarantee you have a lot to be thankful for. Tell the enemy, “no, I’m not going down that sad road anymore” and ask the Lord to show you His goodness, and all that He has provided for you. Worship the Lord with praise and thanksgiving and you’ll feel the transformation in your heart and in your spirit, I promise.
My heart explodes with praise to you! Now and forever my heart bows in worship to you, my King and my God! Every day I will lift up my praise to your name with praises that will last throughout eternity. Lord you are great and worthy of the highest praise! For there is no end to discovery of the greatness that surrounds you.” Psalm 145:1-3