Lets be honest about thankfulness–the human heart is trampled constantly by unthankfulness.
It comes on slowly, like the tide coming in.
Littls bits of it surface, and we see them, and we’re just like, “Oh, I see that over there. It’s no threat right now… I can keep on just the way I was, because it’s such a small amount anyhow. I can easily keep out of its path.” So we truck on, walking or trudging towards wherever we’re off to.
Woosh. Wham. Then it hits hard and steady, surges of it coming on there and here. It’s easy for me to envision our society as tiny hermitcrabs on the crest of a wave, swiftly being pulled outward into the open, wide mouth of the sea. Being whisked along willingly by a beckoning wash of discontent–willingly until we feel the tight grasp the tide has upon our hearts and ourselves as a whole. The icy grip of something that is so far from human, so far from the warmth of relationship–so controlling and crushing. We don’t like that scary feeling once it has sunk its claws deep into ourselves: When our social media and commercialism claw at our rhythms of life, grasping toward our very purposes. When we center ourselves around the latest conversation about some idea off in the distance with people who we hardly even know. When we’re obsessed by the latest thing coming out that we have yet to afford. It sucks you in. It sucks me in.
When we realize this metaphoric occurrance has taken place, it’s something we have to dig ourselves out of, if we’re even able to be conscious of it. It seems to me that most people are unwilling to admit what a hold it’s got on them. Like they don’t want to be accused of having such an obsession as the lives of others. But I think it’s there for most people, deep down. We want to feel known, and we try to replace feeling known by God with feeling known by others. Whether or not they are “real” and intimate friends–or if they’re just numbers on a facebook account. I think I have to prune myself with sharp shears of intentionality often if I am to keep myself from going asunder into the ravaged lands of discontent. It’s really hard. Our commercial world has this way of creeping into every facet of what we do. I just undid myself with social media in one aspect by removing myself from facebook a few weeks ago. Nearly every day I wonder what’s going on in that little chasm which has become so deeply ingrained in most of us these days. But the longer I stay away, the more I try to presently be in my own life, presently do my tasks with concentration, the easier it is to stay away from it. I think back to the feelings it gave me of inadequacy, of being incomplete… probably partially because I was stuck between two worlds: the cyber-world of things and people I am not currently around, and the one I’m actually in but sometimes only half-way a part of. I also felt inadequate because I wanted to really connect with others, not just facebook them to see what’s up in their lives.
This sucks the life out of life. It simply drains conversations, ideas, thoughts. We become these passive observers of our lives instead of active participants vibrantly attuned to what we are doing and where we’re at. We stop being able to discern why we’re doing things or if we’re effective. In essence, we start living in an alternate universe.
Think I’m being extreme? Maybe. But I don’t think I’m far off. If you look, I don’t think you’ll have to dig too deeply to find something like this near to you.
So what can I do to fight for thankfulness in my own heart, and to fill my thoughts with joyful and thankful ones, thoughts for God’s purposes for my life? When I’m really struggling, I have to pause and ask God to really grip me. Take me captive. Show me who he is. Because I know I cannot do this alone. Spending time with my family also reminds me to be thankful. Reflecting on my life and all of those blessings that I take for granted lately.
I feel like God gives us all opportunities to see the world through another’s eyes. I try to take those chances, and to actively realize where I should be thankful for what I have. I’m sure sometimes others see my life and think the same thing. We can show reflections to one another.
Fighting for my heart and mind to be capable of thankfulness and to embrace and rejoice in what God’s given me also means that I must remove myself from things, people, and places I know will tempt me towards unthankfulness, jealousy, and self-seeking pleasures that are really not helpful. I try to focus on those things that I know will be edifying, that I know will be eternal, and I know will leave me with a deep contentment. Some of these are simple, like just sitting down in my dining room and having a cup of hot tea, and breathing deeply. Actively speaking the truth of thankfulness to myself, reminding myself of what God did for our family that day. Others things are more outwardly serving, like as bringing a meal for a friend or listening to someone when I really feel like telling them I’m too busy right now.
How do you fight for your thankfulness?
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
All my love,