I was listening to a song that greatly spoke to my spirit a couple of months back. The song was Find Me from the newly released album of Jonathan and Melissa Helser, Beautiful Surrender.
It spoke about being found in a position of thankfulness and gratefulness, a position of humility and peace that can only be found in the beauty of surrender to our Father. I will be lying if I said that I find myself in that position on a constant basis, but there is grace for our growth processes and I, for one, am extremely grateful for our Father’s continual patience and loving kindness throughout our journeys.
While I was listening to this song, that so ministered to my heart (by the way there is a beautiful cover by Jenn Johnson on Youtube as well), I felt the Holy Spirit start to shift my focus from everything that is going less than perfect in my life right now to a place where I surrender in my Father’s presence, because He really is well able to take care of me. He is well able to take care of my heart, my family, my dreams, my desires, my fears, my failures, my finances. He. Is. Well. Able. As I felt my focus shifting I could feel strength return to my bones and my heart. The Scriptures speak of this in Psalm 103:5 Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]! & in Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.
It didn’t take me long to realize that shifting focus from troubles, concerns and fears to finding the things we are so thankful for (even in the challenging circumstances) has the power to lift our inner atmosphere and feed the hope within us. As you could probably already tell, the circumstances surrounding me were not my favorite. Nor did I particularly ‘feel’ like finding what I am thankful for. The circumstances didn’t magically disappear either, but I was no longer a slave to them. I was in a place of peace and rest and hope. A place that clears the stifling air around you and ushers in God’s presence where we find life, perspective and strengthening! This makes sense, especially when we look at verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:18 …give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. God’s will and heart for us is to be victorious and thankful. Why? Because it gives us the upper hand in any circumstance. It opens the door for His presence to enter in and have influence in our lives.
Next time you have a financial situation that you don’t have the answer for, begin to thank Him for His goodness. When you sit with a relational situation that you cannot seem to reconcile, begin to look for His hand and presence in the situation and thank Him for how He has brought you through so many adventures before. Complaining certainly does not give us any peace. Nor does amplifying the effects of problems in our lives. But proclaiming who God is and His goodness over our circumstances does. If you have a hard time seeing what you should be thankful for (I admit, sometimes situations are so raw we have a hard time seeing it) be grateful in knowing that He is GOOD. And only good.
David did this so well. He was under great turmoil and troubles and rejection. He had his moments of despair, but every time he praised God for His goodness his breakthrough came. Whether it was an external breakthrough or an internal one. It came. Sometimes, its those internal breakthroughs that we really need. Those shifts from despair to hope. From anger to forgiveness. From hurt to healing. From bondage to freedom. Thankfulness paves the way. Thankfulness feeds our faith, because what our hearts are full of our mouths will speak of and faith comes by hearing. Listen to the words coming out of your mouth. They are a quick indicator as to what inner culture you are living from. May our inner cultures reflect His Kingdom culture. A culture of thanksgiving and gratefulness.
According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary some of the definitions for culture are the following: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time; the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. The Holy Spirit started speaking to me about God’s Kingdom culture and how His is a Kingdom of thankfulness and gratefulness. It is His will for us to be thankful and to find the peace and rest that is to be found in that beautiful place of humility and contentment. A culture is not something you have to think about to make happen. It is something that happens naturally. It is evident to all outsiders that it is a part of the culture. It is evident that riding horses, round hats and spurs are part of being a Cow Boy. Spain is automatically associated with siestas and matadors. Rio de Janeiro is associated with colorful celebrations. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of thankfulness and love (John 13:35).
So, if we have been born into the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ, our culture is one of thankfulness. It happens naturally when we behold Him. How can we look at all He has done and Who He is, how He loves us and not be overcome with gratefulness? He is our Father. Our Good Shepherd. He knows our ins and our outs. He loves us with an unconditional, eternal love. He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. He. Is. Good.
May our lives reflect our hearts as in Proverbs 27:19. May we be His children, His sons and daughters, wielding the mighty, yet light, weapon of thankfulness!
Love and Grace,
PS: There is an amazing teaching on thankfulness by Candace Johnson that I would greatly encourage you to listen to. Just follow this link.