Perspective and Gratitude

I am in a season of learning and relearning the power of perspective. Since this coming week is Thanksgiving it seemed appropriate to post about the conversation that is dominating my mind and how gratitude relates to it.

A common theme that keeps running through my mind is the idea of a heavenly perspective.

For example, if I am having a rough day mentally with the idea of losing Molly, our foster daughter, I wrestle through the worst case scenario of her going to her mom and never seeing her again. Then a tender and soft voice reminds me that this world is not my home. Our lives are but a mist, here today and gone tomorrow. (Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.-James 4:14)  I can let the worst case scenario THOUGHT ruin my day, distract me in my marriage and with my kids, and/or worst of all, steal my joy of today OR I can take that thought captive and embrace TODAY and love my family undistracted full of joy and gratitude for the day before me.

Heavenly perspective.

Or I can look at my bank account as I sign into Amazon to do some Christmas shopping and start to feel defeated, stressed, or sad and then perspective chimes in and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the incredible people that God has given me in my life to buy gifts for and for the fact that “it’s the thought that counts” 🙂

Heavenly perspective.

Maybe I am just having a tired morning of self -pity because of poopy diapers, 2 walking 1 year olds, and an attention hungry 5 year old when my beautiful little one, Savannah, posts a blog entry that screams a life giving perspective.

“you guys, he has so much more to offer than our world does, and what he has to offer is eternal – it lasts forever. our eternity is at stake.

so let’s give up our rights and let’s step into a life with him that brings joy and freedom.”

Heavenly perspective.

Why would we ever want or need anything more than joy and freedom?? That is where true and intense joy and confidence comes from!

This week as we approach the day of amazing food and time with loved ones to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for, let’s laugh so hard we cry, let’s passionately cheer on each other in life, let’s break out in dance and song, and most of all let’s pause to thank our BIG and AMAZING God for the incredible life He has given us while here on our short earthly journey.

We are not promised tomorrow. Embrace today and all that it has to offer. And just as the song that my 5th grade self sang in chapel went, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through” let us run with this truth and allow it to explode out of the way we live our lives.

How would we live, act, and speak differently if we truly let the reality of our short lives penetrate our minds and souls? Would we forgive easier? Would we worry and complain less? Would we give of our finances more freely? Would we love more radically? Would we take more risks?

Personally, for starters, I think that I would hug, compliment, and love more recklessly.

What is one thing you can do or say this week that will be rooted out of a heavenly perspective?


The Secret Ingredient

Our church has been going through a series out of the book of Philippians. My mentor and I were reflecting on how awesome the messages have been. She told me that she was actually reading through Philippians on her own at home as well. She is pretty darn wise, so I thought I’d copy her and crack it open and read it for myself.

This morning I opened up to chapter 4 and only made it through the first 7 verses. I have been praying daily that I would be sensitive to the spirit’s presence in my life. The last couple of months have been difficult for me and some days I lose the heavenly perspective.

Read with me Philippians 4:4-7: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I don’t know how many of you have dealt with or are currently dealing with anxiety, but it is unfortunately something that I have struggled with for the last 7 1/2 years. It can be paralyzing. I find that it gets triggered when I lose all control of a situation. Since I don’t have much control of anything, my breathing exercises have become second nature. Thankfully, I know myself well enough that I can tell when the anxiety is building in me. I know to take a breather, put on some worship music, and call out to Jesus.

I think because this season is difficult, it is fueling my prayers to be sensitive and aware of the spirit’s presence. There is a desperation for my heart and mind to be guarded or else they can completely derail me, allowing anxiety to take over. Making me less present and available for my husband, my kids, and my community. I am not willing to be derailed again, so I am willing to do whatever it takes to guard my heart and mind, keep a heavenly perspective, and be the best possible wife, mom, and friend possible.

So, as I read through those verses they jumped out of the page. I literally turned around to Jason with my eyes bulging out of my head. “Jason!! The secret ingredient!! I found it!!” He humored my dramatic response to hear me out. Such a good man 🙂 “With thanksgiving, present your requests to God, AND the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds.” Wait, what?! Peace comes and anxiety goes with a heart of gratitude?? I immediately started making a list of all of the things I am thankful for that directly related to the areas of my life that have been so difficult for me. Instantaneously, I had a joy overcome my being. I sent out a text to several people telling about them the secret ingredient to peace and challenged each and every one of them to text me 5 things they were thankful for. They all cooperated and as the text messages came in I couldn’t help but smile and soak in God’s presence. The gratitude that they all felt for their individual lives blessed me and brought me peace. Gratitude is contagious.

I have had a great day today. A day full of peace, joy, and complete gratitude because of the way God spoke to my heart and encouraged and inspired me. It is supernatural. None of my circumstances changed, but my heart and mind did.

I want this for you. I want for you to be able to walk through your life, not weary or discouraged, but hopeful and encouraged. If you can take even just 5 minutes right now and jot down 5 things you are thankful for, you will sense the shift in your attitude. So, grab your phone and use your “note” app or grab a pen and paper and do this exercise! I promise, there is power in an attitude of gratitude!