Monday, October 31, 2011

The View is Still There

I was reading a devotional this morning and my mind drifted from what I was reading. The devotional talked about a hiker coming down from a lovely vista only to be swallowed up by a sudden black storm. As the devotional continued in a different direction, I thought, “Yes, but the vista was still there, even though the hiker couldn’t see it.”

There are some days when it’s easy to be confident in who you are and the nurture of your family.  Some days, you spend the day walking around in gratitude for all that you have.  And then there are those days.  You know the ones.  There are those days where we spill the coffee in the morning tripping over the dog’s dishes that were supposed to be put away after the evening feeding.  The children wake up grumpy and getting them organized for their day becomes a near impossibility.  On those days, it is a battle to be grateful to even see what there is to be grateful for!
But, here’s the thing, the vista is still there.  Just like the hiker who couldn’t see the beautiful mountains or the colors on the trees when he was engulfed by a dark storm, that doesn’t mean the mountains and trees were no longer in existence.  He just couldn’t see them for the storm that surrounded him.

We may not feel like being grateful.  We may not even be able to SEE what there is to be grateful for!  But it’s still there.  All those things that you were able to see a few days ago when your day went better are still there.  It’s just a little too dark for you to see them right now.
And so, that’s a good reason to keep a gratitude journal.  A gratitude journal is simply a notebook where you write down a few things that you are grateful for each day.  It’s an important practice, the practice of gratitude.  Discipline yourself to write down at least three things every day that you are grateful for.  On those days when, maybe, you can’t think of a single thing to write down on your gratitude list, look back for those days when you were able to list dozens of things and remember that those things for which you were grateful last week are still here.
Sometimes, our perspective just shifts.  We are unable to see the “forest for the trees” as they say.  Your gratitude journal will help you to keep your focus on the many blessings the Lord has given you.

We had a pastor who was fond of saying, “God is good.”  To which we would all respond, “All the time.”  Then he would say, “All the time” and we would say, “God is good!”  He is good ALL the time.  Sometimes our own circumstances just make it difficult to see that.  So, join me in keeping a gratitude journal to help us see through the darkness.

NOTE:  If you’re looking for a great book about gratitude, read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.  I am SLOWLY working through this book.  It's one of those books that I never want to end and I want to consume in small bites to make it last longer.  And it is one of those I could never loan to another person, but I would give as a gift over and over again.  We’re talking life-changing stuff here.

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