Last night at our on-campus worship service, my college pastor taught from Philippians 4:2-6. It's a passage that I have been attempting to clothe myself in ever since the beginning of the year. You see, 2012 didn't exactly start out on a good note for me. But I was coping and trying to give it to God, and to be thankful for the things that I did have. That's why I started keeping my gratitude journal and posting here each week so I'd keep accountable.
But the pastor said something last night that completely threw me. In one breath, he showed me how ungrateful I actually was, and what genuine thankfulness in times of strife looked like. He said that thanksgiving and thankfulness does not look like: "Well, this job sucks, but it is a job, so I can't complain, especially in this economy, so thank You, God for my job." No!
Instead, it's actively searching out the good that He is doing. It's looking for the ways that God is growing me, and the ways that He is showing me His love, and the gifts that I'm overlooking.
So, last night I went home and I took a long, hard look at myself. I saw all of the shallow "thanks" that I had been giving out, and it appalled me. For so long, I've been "thankful" for things like my boyfriend not leaving me, and still having some/most of my health. But then I started seeing what I've been missing. The joys that I hadn't even seen because I was so stuck on my trials and pain.
You often hear people say that without pain, there is no true joy. And while I may not be there yet, I hope that I can one day thank God for the trials that He's brought me to (and through) with a glad and worshipful heart.
Without the beginning of 2012, I wouldn't know what it feels like to have a child reaching specifically for you. I wouldn't be bold or self-advocating enough to tell someone I love that they're hurting, and not helping. I wouldn't be vocal enough to reach out and tell someone what I need. And I wouldn't know the joy of seeing a child's face absolutely light up when they see me or hear me.
So, today I am thankful for the trials in my life. I am thankful for the fruit is bared when I allow God to work in me through them. I am thankful for a pastor that shares God's Word, even when it's hard.
I am thankful.