Pretend with me. You are a child. It’s Christmas. The tree is up and decorated. Glow and sparkle fill the room with Christmas magic. Being a curious child, you have already checked out the landscape of presents under the tree. You noted the gifts with your name on them. And – you’ve counted them. Now you wait . . . and wonder . . . and hope! But the pretending stops and you are an adult again. You ask yourself – “are there gifts for me as a grown-up? Is there something special under God’s Great Tree with my name on it?”
When a person is content, they no longer have task masters cracking the whip over their life. In fact, they settle into a living condition of peace. They have a quiet heart, despite surrounding threats, difficulties, or obstacles. It would be rare to see such a person get “riled up.” This person is quick to be flexible, open to the unforeseen, and satisfied in their heart. The thing they consistently do to remain content is to draw close into God’s great heart in the details of their day. They literally picture themselves in that safe place. It is in this place they can freely ask for wisdom, for creative ideas, for critical insight, and for direction. And – they hear God in their heart – of all things! These folks have learned about contentment.
“Oh say, can you see?”
Our freedom came at a price. Blood shed and terrible losses for many families was the sacrifice years ago of people like you and me. Those people believed in freedom.
Some people have mastered being thankful. I know – because, when I was much younger, God gave me three mentors. They modeled thankfulness and exercised impeccable graciousness even when things weren’t going well. I’m not going to tell you who they are. But I will tell you that two of them – their names start with “M” and both end in “e.” And the third person rules a country – well, sort of!
Thanksgiving helps us remember the bountiful blessings we have. Thankfulness is a lovely quality that emulates God’s character. And since character forms the fiber of our very soul, it’s worth investing in the very best character possible. My mentors have given a wonderful example of what things to aim for. I want to share them with you.
Boasting is generally thought to be bad, self-centered at the very least. Most healthy people refrain from including it in daily communication and interactive behaviors. Yet, Paul promotes boasting.
I had my annual visit with my Dr. last week. We had a great conversation about aging. Apparently, I’m right on target for getting old! And, although I don’t have control over the inevitable aging process – apparently, I’m making some good decisions.
Do you ever feel you just can’t get your act together? Do you sometimes doubt what you bring to the table? Maybe you think you simply don’t have much to contribute. You do love the Lord and want to serve Him. You want your life to make a difference in this world. However:
- Eloquence – thinking on your feet – is not your native tongue.
- You lack wisdom.
- Blaring in your face is your weakness, not your strength.
- Although you trust God, you find fears nesting in your heart. Fear of failure, pain, what people will think, missing God’s best, exposing unattractive character in yourself or someone else, hurting or letting someone down, your past haunts future progress.
- The task before you is overwhelming. You tremble at what God asked you to do.
Did you know your choices about thankfulness reflect your relationship with God? They reveal your level of commitment and love back to God. They measure your trust in Him. And they determine whether you will follow through in 2 things: obeying Him and resting in Him. All these show how much gratitude you have and what kind of perspective you live with daily.
If thankfulness tells this much about you from your inside out, what can you do to get more of it? And how do you live unafraid to show who you really are?