a thankful heart

Today I have thoughts of thankfulness running through my heart. I can't really contain it, so I thought I would share.

I've been reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for a while now. Not consistently. But mostly. Today was beautiful. I read this:

A thankful heart has plenty of room for me.

I immediately thought, "Oh, God, I want to have so much room for you." And in that prayer I realized a couple things.

Thankfulness in my life has come in two forms. One, is a thankfulness that comes out of an overflowing, joyous heart. This is when I feel thankful and am thankful to the Lord for the blessings in my life. This has been when something major has happened like getting a teaching job, celebrating four years with my hubby or finding out we were pregnant. It also happens in the small things, like being thankful for an unscheduled morning with him, finishing a good book or a warm bath.

The other form of thankfulness in my life is thankfulness that comes out of obedience. This is thankfulness even when I don't feel like being thankful. This is when things are really hard and challenging but I have to choose to be thankful in the moment. This is much harder to do.

Most of my life (since becoming a believer) has been in the first form of thankfulness. The Lord has blessed my life abundantly and I have (thankfully) had a heart that was able to see these blessings. I seek joy on a daily basis, so much so that I tattooed in on my arm as a  reminder. I love joy. I love Jesus. And I believe that all of my joy is rooted in him.

It's not often that I have had to live in the second form of thankfulness. Yet, the last few months, probably mostly October through now, have been living in the thankfulness that comes out of obedience. (And just so you know it didn't come easy or quick. It took me about three months to figure out that I needed to choose to be thankful even if life feels sucky). Once I realized that there is more to thankfulness than just feeling thankfulness, I had to make a choice on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis to choose to be thankful.

I remember when I first realized this. It was right after Thanksgiving break. My pastor had given a talk on thankfulness and challenged us to list out the things we were thankful for relationally, spiritually, materially, etc. That week was the first time I was able to write anything about my Grandpa in my journal, let alone something of thankfulness while he was going though his battle. That week opened my heart to choosing thankfulness. Each day I began writing more and more things and when I finished the list my pastor had encouraged us to fill out I started making my own list because I knew that this was getting my heart in line with the truth, with a heart that was thankful even in obedient thankfulness.

So today I am wondering where you are at with the Lord in thankfulness. Are you thankful out of an overflowing thankfulness right now or are you having to choose to be thankful? Or maybe you're not even there yet and needing some encouragement to choose thankfulness? I'd love to hear your thoughts because I love, love, love talking about this!


Kirstin Schulz said...
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Kirstin Schulz said...

Aim! That is EXACTLY the message I most often heard from the Lord while reading Jesus Calling and 1000 Gifts. You wrote out so beautifully what is often on my heart. One thing 1000 Gifts says that really stuck with me is thanksgiving (ie: eucharisteo!) is the act of naming the things we're thankful for, which is in essence, naming the ways God loves us. I love that.

aimee swift said...

Thanks K. Me too! I enjoyed that book too. :)

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