Finding the Way Back
published by Ashley Glover on November 8. 2017 at hopefulmosaic.com
November always brings it up: gratitude. It isn’t a hard word- nine letters, three syllables. Yet, what gets in our way of truly feeling it, practicing it, living in it? If you find yourself stuck somewhere between the busyness of the day-to-day, the ever-constant ping of a cell phone demanding your attention, or the more serious concerns of illness, tragedy, financial stress, relational crisis, or loss…how do you find your way back?
In my life, if I take my eyes off of the blessings that have been so beautifully lavished upon me, it’s easy to lose that sense of gratitude. Like old, tired muscles that need to be stretched and exercised, so must we work on this evasive place in our hearts that is so fragile and prone to rust and wear. A few moments scrolling through your social media feeds can trigger that tunnel vision – taking your eyes off of the gifts around you (and subsequently – the Gift Giver), juxtaposing your personal struggles with everyone else’s supposed triumphs. It’s easy to get trapped deep inside yourself, in that place where the ugliness of envy and the raw ache of desire smother the voice of Truth.
Because the Truth is, there is always reason to be thankful (for me, His name is Jesus). Even in the hardest, rip-your-heart out, messiest or mundane moments -gratitude is still there. Like a gift wrapped quietly and gently and placed at our feet, it waits unobtrusively. We cannot be forced to open that gift, but if we will take the time…it is well worth the effort.
Gratitude is the greatest weapon in my arsenal against the hard stuff. If I neglect it, then the weight of all the uglies (greed, envy, hopelessness, boredom, disillusionment, anger) gets bigger and bigger. I start with a blank page in a journal, and I ask God to open my eyes to the greatest of my gifts. For me that list looks something like this:
- My Salvation through Jesus
- My Marriage
- Our Daughter
- Our Parents/Families
- Our Friends
- Our Church
- My Job
- Our Home
I meditate on each of these, carefully stopping to honor each one in my heart and lift up Praise to my Heavenly Father. As I do so, whatever lies have been swirling in my head about how I’m lacking X, Y, Z start to dissipate. Like an Alka Seltzer in a cold glass of water, they fizzle out one-by-one, until my heart and mind are no longer clouded and veiled in the uglies. Whatever you’re struggling with – whatever those uglies are for you – find your way back. It is worth the struggle.