As I have been reflecting on this Thanksgiving season, I’ve realized there are areas in my life that I need to learn how to be grateful. It’s not that I just need to suck it up and be grateful. I have to learn to choose gratitude. There’s a difference. Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s those areas in your life where you know you should be grateful, but it feels like the fruit isn’t growing or the process isn’t working. It isn’t where you want it to be, or it looks different than what you thought it would look like. It’s frustrating. As Small Group Point People, I’m sure we can all relate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a happy person. But, happy isn’t grateful. James 1:2 says, “Consider it purse joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” This verse causes you to ask yourself questions like, “Where is my joy? Where is that ‘source of joy’ coming from?” If I were to be completely honest, I wouldn’t say my source of joy comes from the trials I experience. Joy, gratitude, and trials don’t seem to be the words I would use in the same sentence.
So, here are a few questions I asked myself that I felt were convicting and catalytic in my own life:
- Where in your life are you disgruntled and God is asking you to be grateful?
- In what area do you need to focus on praising God more?
- Where do you need to accept the fruit that God is already doing instead of focusing on the fruit you want to see?
I have this large chalkboard that sits on my desk and for months it has read the same thing:
“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time, we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit” (Galatians 6:9-10). Is there an area that you need to choose joy instead of allowing yourself to get fatigued? What do you want to quit that God is asking you to view as an opportunity to choose joy to endure it instead? Do you believe God has a harvest ready for you? Where is He already at work developing fruit in your ministry?
I believe that the root of gratitude stems from our perspective. So, my challenge of you would be to lay it out and start writing down what you want to be grateful for. Keep a gratitude journal. Ask someone to keep you accountable. Write down on a sticky note three things you are grateful for and stick it on your mirror. Whatever it looks like, commit to making your gratitude list visible. Gratitude is contagious, so let us not become fatigued…let us not quit…let us stay the course for out of it, we will experience pure joy and a harvest.