Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When a thankful heart takes effort

I have enjoyed all of the recent blog posts and facebook posts people have written that are full of the things they are thankful for. They are heart warming and encouraging.

I know from experience that thankfulness is not always easy to come by.

There are times in life when tears flow more freely that gratitude.

There are times when sorrow, sickness, suffering and grief seem to block the well worn path to thanksgiving.

Several years ago I struggled with anxiety. At the time it took a toll on my health. Anxiety clouded my view of the blessings in my life. It led me to think that I was not living out my faith well. How could I be if anxiety could have such a hold on me?

My perspective changed when I read Psalm 6:6 in which David wrote, "I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears." At the time that was exactly how I felt! It occurred to me when I read that Psalm that if David, who was called a man after God's own heart in the scriptures, could be so troubled that he like me was brought to tears by those troubles and yet was still considered to be a man after God's own heart, that I too could struggle with anxiety and continue to be a woman after God's own heart. 

A friend recently shared with me the saying, "It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy!"

I don't think anyone ever shared this saying with David and yet I believe he knew it. I believe he knew it because in the same Psalms where David cried out to God with his groaning, he also consistently declares his trust in the Lord. Psalm 7:1a "O Lord my God, in Thee do I put my trust!" And David faithfully thanked the Lord throughout the Psalms. Psalm 9:1-2 "I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High." It was David's being a man after God's own heart that caused him to continue to be thankful even when he was suffering and full of sorrow.

During the volleyball season I would tell the girls to focus on where they wanted their serve to land because the ball would follow their focus. It is important to remember that our hearts too will follow our focus!

David knew God could handle his outcries of sorrow and frustration and David kept his focus on God's goodness and blessings because David knew that is where joy and peace are found.

When our hearts are heavy as David's was, thankfulness may not come easy. A thankful heart may take effort. It may take great effort! 

One may have to start with the little things.

A smile given from a passing stranger. Thank you!

The perfect bloom of a summer flower. Thank you!

Snow covered pumpkins. Thank you!

When we begin to focus on our blessings it can be surprising how quickly the list of blessings will grow!

When we begin to be purposeful in giving God thanks it can be surprising how quickly our joy will grow!

My heart spills over with joy if a thankful heart comes easy for you!

If a thankful heart is not so easy for you to come by, I encourage you to give thankfulness all of your effort. It may not be easy, but it will be so worth it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for being here and reading Unexpected Daisies!

God Bless you!


No comments: