First World Issues

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing Love.

Psalm 107:6-8

 

In the midst of debates and elections and news and broadcasting and refugee crisis and bathroom dilemmas…this struck me.

Loudly.

History repeats itself in so many ways, so many times.

And still, throughout the trouble, God delivers and we sing praise.

 

Sitting in so much privilege, it is easy for me to say this, yet its true nonetheless.

 

So many of my issues are first world inconveniences.

first world

We have no hot water today.

 

We have running water. We have a microwave to heat bottles. We have coffee. We have all the food we could want (even if it’s not brownies). We are safe. We are warm. We have no doubts about which bathroom to use. Or fears in using them. We know where our entire family is and where they will grow. We have healthcare even if it is frustrating.

 

I am blessed. Yet sometimes I sit in the trouble that is small and forget it’s a puddle I can stand in.

 

I pray for eyes to see and a heart to discern daily ways to actively participate in the glory of God. To help those struggling get to a place they too can see His grace.

 

“it is a good think to be without trouble, but it is a better thing to have a trouble and know how to get grace enough to bear it” Ann Voskamp

  • J
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Here and Now of Life

It’s time to start again, a life intentionally based on thanksgiving, thanks-living.

 

2 ½ years ago I started keeping track, physically numbering my thanks, listing His graces numerically and forgetting oh so many.

 

2015 felt long. I’m excited for this new year. I’m done looking ahead though. This right here, this now, this is life, and it’s where I live.

 

And it’s hard and messy and I’m trying desperately to obey my God. To be willing and open to anything. And I’ve never been here before. This open, this devoted, this yearning.

 

tongue tamingBut it starts with the heart, it starts with relationships, I’m finding most things God directed start with relationships. And so it starts with my tone.

 

So I’m re-reading 1000 Gifts (Ann Voskamp). I’m reorienting my heart alongside my head.

 

Redirecting my focus and repeating my prayer, “Let my tone reflect my heart, not my circumstances”

 

Keeping my mantra of perspective in mind.

 

I need all the help I can get. The tongue is not my master and yet all too often I let it rule.

  • J

Give Thanks, Not Complaints

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits

Psalm 103:2

Most who have known me for a long time would say that I am a complainer. Which in all fairness was 100% true the first 24 years of my life.

However, now when people say that it feels like a small stab and I want to explain to them (in detail) the ways God is at work in me and how it has changed my life (and attitude) completely.

And gosh darn it, I’m no longer a complainer.

(ok, sometimes, too often, I am still an outward complainer. It is a 24-year-old habit and I’m still working on breaking it)

But inwardly I give thanks, not complaints!

My day starts with a gratitude journal and, ok some mornings the first thing I write down is coffee. But, hey, I truly am grateful for it, and God knows that! I try to add 5 items to the list every day (often more and always forgetting things).

When gratitude became my way of starting everyday it slowly changed my life.

I wasn’t born with a lucky, go-getter, cheerful personality. I am all those things, but I am also blunt, sarcastic, opinionated and aggressive.

It has taken me a long time to accept those personality traits as a good thing, and I’m slowly adding in patience and gratefulness. I’ll admit, the attitude of gratitude has come easier than the patience.

I firmly believe every single day every single person has at least 5 things to be thankful for, and its ok if coffee and bedtime frequently make the list!

I’m on number 3,031 for this year- some serious, some frivolous. God appreciates every single thank you and I am trying harder to appreciate every blessing no matter how big or small.

Ps. Read, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp if you think your life could use a gratitude make over!

– J