Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday: A Primer

I have decided to start a new series on my blog. I am going to call it "Thankful Thursday."

As I have been reading through the historical books of the Old Testament, I have been struck by God's repeated command to Israel to remember. As they wandered through the wilderness, grumbling and complaining about being rescued from Egypt (you know, that glorious land of slavery where life was so good...ahem, insert sarcasm here, ahem....), God almost exclusively responds with the command for them to remember...remember how God brought you out of slavery...remember the miracles you have seen God perform...remember the ways he has provided for you in the wilderness....when you feel like grumbling and complaining, remember.

So, last October, I started making a list to help me remember. I call it my gratitude list.

This past fall, I became more and more aware of how discontent, dissatisfied and just generally unhappy I was feeling. So I started making a list of things I was thankful for. I began writing down five things I am thankful for from the day...moments when I saw God's hand in my life, ways that I feel blessed by him, meaningful interactions I had or simply things that made me smile - anything that can be considered a gift from the abundant Giver. (I got the idea from following the blog of my dear friend Rachel who got the idea from Ann Voskamp who has nowwritten a book about cultivating a spirit of least I think that's what the book is about....I haven't read it...).

It has become a very, very meaningful spiritual discipline for me.

I tweaked a quote from Ann Voskamp and wrote it as a prologue to myself in my gratitude journal. It reads, "In giving thanks for the life I already have, may I find the life I've always wanted." As I read back through my gratitude list earlier this week, I found the life I have been wanting. And it's my life. Right now.

I made an intentional decision early on not to share my list publicly. I was mostly concerned that thinking about sharing it with others would influence what I wrote. I am weak like that. But as I read through my list earlier this week, rejoicing over the mercy and grace God has shown me in the past eight months, I couldn't help but think of how he not only commands Israel to remember but he also commands them to speak of his works. They are to tell each other the stories of his faithfulness. They are to rejoice together over the things he has done. And I have been writing my list long enough to know what it looks like when it's genuine, so I have a better idea of what to watch for to make sure it remains genuine.

So I have decided to share some pieces of my list.

My purpose in doing so is twofold.

Firstly, I want to tell of his works. I want to share these pictures of his faithfulness. I want his goodness to be known through my life.

Secondly, I hope it may influence at least a few of you to start lists of your own. I know the desire was stirred in me by reading Rachel's blog and I hope that you may be spurred on to look more closely for God's hand in your life, that you, too, may find the life you've always wanted.

Here's my plan (because I always have a plan....): I will post my lists on Thursdays (hence the name "Thankful Thursday"). To start with, I am going to go back and pick out some highlights from the past eight months covering one month each week which should catch me up to the present time by the end of July. After that, each post will be items from the previous week. That's it.

It's a simple plan.

So, tune in tomorrow for "Thankful Thursday: October Edition" and rejoice with me over the great things he has done.