Good Gift Hunting

153. The gentle love of God.

154. Giant red orb at sunset.

155. The beauty of classical music that touches the soul without words.

This is my list. I started a list of good gifts on January 19th. Since taking Life Coaching classes, one of the tools they suggest for people sort of stuck in a rut and needing perspective of the good around them is to hunt for it. Keeping eyes wide open, to see and receive is harder than you think, I am finding out. Mostly because the fast paced American lifestyle doesn’t allow for much time to stop and smell the roses.

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks (Photo credit: Hey Paul Studios)

But oh, so needful!!

There is so much going on in our world and not a lot of it good. In my own little world, there has been conflict and tribulations that wear me down. My cup has a leak in it. It seeps out whenever I suffer loss or crushed dreams or disappointments. Being the melancholy type personality, I tend to ruminate on the negative and all that went wrong with my day.

We all know those other personalities that are naturally upbeat and positive, always cheerful. I used to wonder if those people were the ones meant to have joy and the rest of us just have to miss out. Is it possible for all people to live in joy no matter their personality or dire circumstances?

I think I am finding the answer to be yes.

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. ~ Psalm 27:13

If we don’t believe we will see the goodness of God here on this broken earth, we will faint. We will grow weary.

Since starting this experiment of good gift hunting where I give thanks to God for His good gifts, I write it down in my little notepad. At night I might get out my notebpad and look back, which leads me to witness my cup being filled and overflowing.

What is this called? I’ve heard of this somewhere. Oh wait, giving thanks. I read that as a command the Lord gave us in so many places in His Word. This giving of thanks. Yet I failed to follow it or really take it that serious. Sure, I’ve been thankful for general things like the sunny day or the food on my plate, but now writing things down I’ve been more specific.

After a few weeks into the exercise, I noticed something happening to my attitude. I am much more positive and joy fills my heart.

Coincidentally, a friend of mine gave me a book on this very subject soon after I started my list. Yes, GAVE!!!! As in FREE! That is #25 on my list. Heehee. The name of the book is One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp and I devoured that book.  In it she talks about gratitude being everything. A very important attitude to practice as a Christian because it turns our eyes to the Lord’s goodness. In this world, I think our eyes hunger to see His goodness.

We are encouraged in Psalm 100 to,

Enter His gates with thanksgiving…

Before we do anything else, we give thanks.

When we send up our petitions, we mingle it with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6).

The opposite of thanksgiving–ingratitude. The sin that led to humanity’s downfall in the Garden of Eden. You remember?

The Christian concept of apocatastasis include...

The Christian concept of apocatastasis includes a restoration of the world to its original state, as in the Garden of Eden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Picture it: Adam and Eve living it up in the Garden. God provided everything they needed. Every good food. Every kind of fruit and veggie. More than any two people could need. Surrounded by absolute beauty, living in the presence of God in unbroken fellowship…unbroken communion. They really had it all! The Hiltons and the Buffets and the Trumps only got a small English cottage compared to what Adam and Eve had in their Garden Mansion.

And then the serpent, Satan, comes along and says to them, “Hey! God is holding out on you! He knows if you eat this forbidden fruit that you will become just like Him and He don’t want that. He’s withholding good from you. You better take what should be yours.”

Well, it was a lie, but both Adam and Eve took the bait–hook, line and sinker, thus plunging us all into a state of war with ingratitude. Ok, so some of us are at war with it and some of us give up the battle and just embrace it, but you know what I mean.

Ann says,

“We eat. And, in an instant, we are blind. No longer do we see God as one we can trust. No longer do we perceive Him as wholly good. No longer do we observe all of the remaining paradise. We eat. And, in an instant, we see. Everywhere we look, we see a world of lack, a universe of loss, a cosmos of scarcity.”

How do we get back our sight and see God for who He is: good.

Give thanks.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” 1 Chr. 16:34

It sounds weird, doesn’t it? Give thanks first and then you’ll see? Don’t you need to see first and then give thanks?

We have been given a lot for which we can give thanks. As I mentioned earlier, the trick I think is slowing down long enough to look for it. We need to be intentional. We need to chose to see what it is we have already. Once we start there, our eyes widen and we begin to see more.

Is this a challenge in our mundane everyday lives? Yes. Is it a challenge to do when we receive bad news? Yes. But the Word of God tells us we can give thanks in all things (1 Thes. 5:18). Whatever situation we are in, we can find something to thank God for.

If I can be honest here, it has been a challenge for me the past month to give thanks. I recently found out I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Now, this is in addition to another G.I. disease called Ulcerative Colitis. While the Ulcerative Colitis has been under control for years, the IBS went undiagnosed. I’ve had it for 10 years and didn’t realize it. I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when I found out I had it either. I went into depression for a couple of weeks.

But then I started thinking, Hey! I have a name for it now so I can treat it. There is no real treatment for IBS the best way to manage it is through diet. Doctors and the medical field have not caught up with the needs of IBS sufferers. It’s so personalized and different for everyone that it’s hard for doctors to pin point an effective treatment plan. The only thing my doctor told me was to keep to a diet plan called the FODMAP diet. A restrictive diet.

It has really been a challenge and I get weary. And giving thanks becomes hard, but I must if I am to keep my head above the flood coming in. I must continue the hunt for good gifts.

My list today starts with:

222. Bringing joy to someone else suffering by giving a gift made with love.

223. The magical music of wind chimes.

224. Jesus reigns in my life.

I give thanks to You, Oh Lord, for You are truly good. There is no good thing You withhold from Your children.

Join me in the hunt, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s open our eyes wide and choose to see His goodness in this land of the living.

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An amazing testimony of God’s faithfulness in the midst of suffering. We all need to see God’s faithfulness in hard times. He is always good and always faithful.

Dancing On My Ashes

Through the month of March, we’ve had a guest series called “This is my story, this is my song.” There were personal journeys of hope, victory, courage, and redemption that you needed to hear! I know, I know, it’s April… but I have another ONE!

This series has been too much fun! We can’t stop… we won’t stop… (Eek! I’m sounding like Miley Cyrus.) I (Heather) can’t wait for you to meet Preston! He’s the first male appearing on our blog! {insert applause machine.} Psh—this blog’s not just for females anyway. I’m so thankful he agreed to share some of his journey with you. I met Preston years and years ago when he was hired as the photographer at the university where I was employed. He is so personable and joyful! Once you’ve met Preston, you won’t forget him! So nine years later, when our paths crossed again, I was…

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We can hug our hurts…

Sorrow

Sorrow (Photo credit: caruba)

We can hug our hurts and make a shrine out of our sorrows or we can offer them to God as a sacrifice of praise. The choice is ours. ~ Richard Exley

Personal note to readers: Hey ya’ll! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting lately. Blogging has had to take a backseat to other priorities. I’ve been studying for my life coaching classes and my health has not been too well. I think I am closer to a more complete diagnoses. The past few months have been difficult and I have become a desperate woman for answers. Now that I think I know what the problem is, I’ve been trying to follow the advice of the books I’ve been reading even before I have the official diagnoses from the doc. I have been doing a bit better–Praise the Lord! Still working on it. I have been reading your posts despite my hiatus from writing and keeping up a bit with your encouraging words, and trust me–I’ve needed them! I’ll be back to writing again soon. Blessings in Christ!

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