MAN! I am currently blown away and in sweet-awe of my amazing God! This is totally just like Him to open my eyes like this – it’s beyond what I could conjure up on my own.
You’ve heard the expression “count your blessings”, right? If you haven’t then you’ve definitely heard that you should thank God for your “blessings”. Most people say you should especially do this when you’re having a hard time or a bad day… it gets you to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. I now take major issue with that mentality, not because it doesn’t happen… but because that should not be the reason why we “count our blessings”.
I thought I knew how to thank God for the blessings He’s given me. I knew I didn’t thank Him often enough. But I’d thank Him for lots of things without asking for more (or so I thought). “Thank you for my family, home, health, life, etc. etc.” I’d even get more specific sometimes and less general of course upon occasion. I’d specifically thank Him for my Daddy and why, or for my Mama and why, or for my home ‘because…’, and for ‘this person’, or for ‘this moment’, and so on – being even more specific than those mentioned.
This morning, I was writing to Him, and decided I should thank Him rather than ask Him for anything this time. It’s my duty right? What I’ve been told I should do. I don’t want to be an ungrateful follower. And by the way, by asking Him for more, I’m not meaning just more physical material. I’ll get into that a little later though. So I proceeded and begin with a generic ‘thank you for the blessings You’ve given me’… then started listing things as I thought of them. The more I begin to write down, the more specific they got and the more my eyes and heart started to open… and the more the condition of my heart was surfacing beyond what I was writing down. This process is still going on even now, so I know this has to be the Lord’s doing and not my own because it would’ve stopped after I finished writing if it was my own understanding…
The thanking went beyond the material. I started to see and account for the abundance of the seen and unseen that go along with those “materials” or “physical”. It all started to really connect deep within my heart. That “blessings” were not just actual people or things given to me by God. I thought I already knew this, that blessings were way beyond that – but I guess I needed a new lesson and deeper understanding. Some of the things I was thanking Him for seemed silly and still generic… but it still connected and hit me deep.
I thanked God for my family, home, work, car, love, salvation, a bed, running water, clean water, Jesus, giftings/talents, my brain, a healthy heart, overall health, sight, touch, warmth, speech, music, writing, legs to walk, food, hearing, muscles, relationships, internet, taste, hands, feet, physical strength, the ability to read, and two parents who love each other and love Him. That was all I could think of at that moment, since it was just the beginning of this journey He was taking me through. I asked for His forgiveness for taking it all for granted, and expressed that I wanted to give all of my blessings back to Him and in service to Him – ‘they are not mine’. I confessed that I freely accepted them for so long without acknowledging their true source.
Acknowledge all that God has blessed you with and you then realize how much of HIM we take for granted when we worry or whine by what we think we cannot do or “don’t have”. It’s foolish to not praise Him or take into account what we have because we then live in excess of God’s grace (because He freely gives it to us) when we take it all for granted. Not only is it foolish, but it is an ungrateful spitting in His face by thinking I somehow need more or worry that I don’t have enough. It’s like what I’m actually doing is telling God that what HE has blessed me with at this time ‘isn’t enough’ or ‘isn’t GOOD enough!’. That what he has given me does not suffice… isn’t meeting my needs. How do I know what my needs really are anyway?
All that we currently are is a blessing from the Giver, our Lord and Creator. Not only do I need to acknowledge the Giver, but I need to turn around and freely give back to Him. He deserves no less. I mean seriously… when you accept a gift from someone, not out of obligation, but out of a desire in your heart and that you were touched by what they gave – you want to give a gift back to them. Sometimes you give out of obligation or because you feel bad or because you want to earn their gift – but there is such a major difference in an unconditional giving and giving back, and we all know it. It “feels” different because it’s almost like it’s something outside of us – a desire placed in us then by an outside source. We can’t understand as much why we want to give, we just desire to. You can “feel” the difference when someone gives you something this way… it’s freely given. Sound familiar? (Crucified death of Jesus Christ, HE freely gave His life in our place!)
See, my thanking God before, was pretty much out of obligation and the SHOULD thank attitude. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this since it is our duty and we SHOULD praise and thank God for our blessings, since He doesn’t deserve anything less from us. Also, it was out of this obligation that I began to thank Him so the Lord does still honor the “have to’s” because we are being obedient to His word and commands… but something clicked today, and I transitioned into a desire that has now been placed in me by the Lord to acknowledge and glorify Him with my thanking as well as with my blessings. It’s like the difference between the Old Covenant and the New one – Christ fulfilled the old one where there were regulations and laws, so these “obligations” still have a function and cannot be tossed aside (Read Matthew 5:17 and 1 John 2:1-8 – there are so many other verses to back this up as well I just can’t find them at this time). But we have freedom from these obligations through Christ Jesus who delivers us (Read Romans chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8)!
If you really acknowledge and thank God for the many detailed blessings He’s given you, you have nothing to worry about or strive for. All that is given to us today IS enough because it was given by the only One who truly knows everything we need in every area of our lives – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Even when we do not understand it. Either I fully trust and follow Jesus, or I don’t. When I account for what God has given me, all that I am because of His grace – I realize what a consumerist and selfish human I am, and what an amazing and worthy God HE is. I have legs to walk, when others may not. I have eyes to see, while others are blind. I have a healthy brain, while others are sick. I have clean running water, millions do not. When I doubt and feel inadequate in my day or in what I’m doing or in what I have or in who I am, I spit in my Savior’s face and I also hurt the people who may lack. Rejoice in the Lord who’s given you what you have today and right at this moment!
I am mostly writing to myself and the people who take for granted what God gives us. There are children and adults dying due to lack of clean water, lack of food, lack of basic necessities. I still do not understand why this happens and why I have an abundance that I take for granted, while others have so little and die because of it. I don’t pretend to know why. God hasn’t brought me there yet. Maybe it’s to fuel the people like us that do have access to those things to freely give to those who don’t have. Or maybe to bring about His glory in a miraculous way. I don’t know. I am just writing from what I do know and about the condition of my own heart – my personal experiences and what God brings me through.
It is time to give it all back to Him for use of His service and glory! All that I am, all that’s been given to me… He dserves no less. I’m done taking taking and taking without acknowledging or glorifying the Giver.