Travel the world, they said. Find yourself, they said. Fill your life with adventures, they said.
Mind you, the “they” is really just the surrounding culture and countless Pinterest and Facebook memes smothering my homepages; nonetheless I still managed to fall prey to the illusion of travelling grandeur. Whether I would I have admitted it or not, before leaving for my summer in the UK I had somehow cheated myself into thinking that the problem wasn’t truly me—the problem was my circumstances. I would be content and satisfied if ___________ (fill in the blank).
Imagine my disappointment when I arrived and found that I had followed myself here! In other words, the same selfish, dissatisfied me was attached, and unlike Peter Pan’s shadow—I couldn’t lose her. No matter how many castles I saw or children came to know Jesus, my heart still daily cried “not enough”. I am not enough. Travel is not enough. People are not enough. Ministry is not enough. Nothing is enough. Enough to fill the void that naturally occurs. I am a chronic void filler. In realising this I also came to see that what I am really crying out is “God, YOU are not enough!”
The solution isn’t knowing God is enough—although that is a start. The solution lies in believing it. But what does it look like to walk-out a satisfied life when I struggle to be satisfied with the extraordinary, let alone the every-day mundane? How do I get from head to heart?
Before leaving, I was challenged to a gratitude dare—can I list 1,000 gifts that God has given me? It seemed both simple and intimidating all at once. Can I open my hands to receive whatever it is that Jesus gives today?
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits…
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!
Open hands. Your will, not mine. Letting go of expectations and self-models of perfection to accept what He says. Humility.
The quiet song of gratitude… lures humility out of the shadows because to receive a gift the knees must bend humble and the hand must lie vulnerably open and the will must bow to accept whatever the Giver chooses to give. (Ann Voskamp)
35. baggy rain jackets
45. laughter with strangers
181. teams that don’t do things the way I would
454. neighbourhood brass band concert
495. missing my train
And I remember…
His grace is sufficient for me.
He said, never will I leave you or forsake you.
I AM the bread of Life; He who comes to me will never hunger.
I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Each item a conscious movement to thank and turn the focus off of me and onto the Giver who is always gifting. Convenient and inconvenient; joyous and sad; lacking and abundant. Each moment is grace. Each moment is a gift. Each moment is His abundance. How can I long for a dearer relationship with Jesus, without first thanking Him for what He has already given? He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much… if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? (Luke 16:10-11)
Gratitude is a difficult learning process, but the heart of God is good, powerful, and steadfastly loving. It is more than just stating “thank you”, it is walking and acting on the true promises of God—trusting. That He does satisfy, with good things nonetheless—He satisfies with Himself! Therefore, thank Him, even when we do not feel it. Declare His praise, even when the want to is absent. We can move forward in deep joy with Him whether we are sitting in school, typing in an office, or traipsing the mysterious Tibetan passes of Nepal.
Because the God who measures the universe with His hand has chosen us as His valuable children before time was spoken into existence. Because He who alone is utterly holy and perfectly righteous wiped clean our unholy, impure, filthy-dirty heart so that we could tread confidently in His holy places. Because He uses the broken to show a starving, discontent world how we were created to be satisfied by Him alone.