One of the joys that I have had in my life over the past several months is meeting with a group of delightfully honest ladies weekly to study God’s word, prayer, and visit dear ones who for some reason or another need prayer, encouragement, or just a hug to know they are loved. Every other week we individually study one of the Psalms, then take turns leading the discussion. We are two lessons away from finishing the study, and my turn to lead has come around. The Psalm we are studying is the 100th. One all about praising the Lord, giving thanks, because of who He is. It is a tiny one, just five verses, but packed full of conviction and practical advice for daily worship. Have you ever met a person with a heart full of gratitude? You know, the type of person who sees the one ray of sunshine and does not even seem to notice that they are in the eye of a tornado? The one where you look at their live and think to yourself, “If that was me, they would have thrown me in the loony bin a *long* time ago!” The type of modern day Jobs who when everything around them falls apart, when all is lost, they morn, but yet fall down and worship. How in the world?!
I have come to a conclusion that gratefulness does not start with doing, it starts with being. It is something you do because of who you are. HIS child. It is an internal change that has so many outward consequences. And it starts with knowing Him. Who He is. “Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that has made us.” “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.” How do we became grateful, worshipping people? By taking note of who He is! By knowing Him and remembering what He has done.
This is something that the Lord had been working on in my heart already. Showing me my lack of recognizing Him, His working and His timing, and therefore having a rather whinny attitude. Such a small example…the other day it rained right after I had washed clothing. And when you count on the sun to be your dryer, rain is not a good thing. But I love the rain and had a wonderful, regenerating nap that afternoon as it poured outside my window. But was I able to say, “Thank you Lord for the rain!”? Or did I choose to complain to my husband about how it seems to rain every time I wash?! Or when my husband has a late night at work do I give thanks that they have work that is keeping him there or do I grumble because my plans for the evening have been changed?
Here are a couple things that I am working on making into habits, so that I learn to become a grateful worshipper. These ideas generate from things that I have read, heard or seen in the lives of others.
~ Choose to remember: “Know ye that the Lord is God.” I keep a journal, sometimes just lists of the things the Lord has done in my life. When things to not go my way (um….it’s a daily thing!) I have a record to go back and remember the great things He has done.
~Be purposeful: “…be thankful unto Him and bless His name.” I know when my heart is not right, the moments I am tempted to react by my emotions instead of living by what is true. When I know my heart is full of anger, I purposefully sit down and write out 10, 15, 20 things I am grateful for. Its work and sometimes painful, but the attitude of my heart slowly begins to change.
~Set the time: “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.” I know myself and giving thanks as a form of worship will not happen unless I set a specific time….and multiple times a day. Most of the time it is after an activity is complete. For example, “Once I get back from the market and before I start lunch, I am going to give thanks.” So whether it be working on memory work, reading a Psalms, singing or listening to praises songs, or writing down what I am grateful for in that moment, thanks and praise is given. I am considering setting specifically hourly times like 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and stopping when those times come and give thanks. But so far I have not tried it that way.
~Know Him: “For the Lord is good…” It seems simple, but knowing Christ, more of His love will naturally generate gratefulness. It has been said “To renew your love for Christ, review His love for you!”
Like I said above, these are things I am trying to do, attempting to form them into habits. I am still not there yet. Truth be told, it is a long way off. But thanks be to Him, because He is bringing me closer and closer to Him, changing my heart to one of gratefulness, and filling my lips with praise.
“…His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”