Perspective and Gratitude

Think of the grateful, hopeful people you know. Have their lives been easy, or have they learned to rely on God despite their circumstances? It’s tempting to complain about the small stuff when the framework of our lives is rich with blessing. If we do it long enough, though, we don’t see the treasures that are really ours. I wonder if that’s why people keep gratitude journals.

This is something God is nudging me about in my own life. I need to be awake to the wonders of the present and delight in what He gives—and not allow desire for my own way to poison me.

I love how whatever He’s trying to show me will pop up in the strangest places. Here are a few:

§ I’ve recently discovered Louise Penny’s mystery series, set in small-town Quebec, Canada. Wish the language wasn’t so harsh in places, but I have so enjoyed the first two novels and am in queue for the third at the library. For mainstream novels, they treat Scripture and faith with respect. Armand Gamache is a homicide detective. Look at what he says:

“People expect me to be cynical because of my job… but they don’t understand. …I spend my days looking into the last room in the house, the one we keep barred and hidden even from ourselves. The one with all our monsters, fetid and rotting and waiting. My job is to find people who take lives. And to do that I have to find out why. And to do that I have to get into their heads and open that last door. But when I come out again,” he opened his arms in an expansive movement, “the world is suddenly more beautiful, more alive, more lovely than ever. When you see the worst you appreciate the best.” Dead Cold, by Louise Penny. [Headline Publishing Group, 2006, p. 268]

§ I finally had the chance to see the Chronicles of Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Near the end, Prince Caspian realizes he’s spent his time regretting what’s been taken from him (his father), instead of embracing what he’s been given—a kingdom to rule. That changes his life.

§ One of this week’s posts at Other Food: Daily Devos includes this quote from Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction:

“We can decide to live in response to the abundance of God and not under the dictatorship of our own poor needs. We can decide to live in the environment of a living God and not our own dying selves. We can decide to centre ourselves in the God who generously gives and not in our own egos which greedily grab.” A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 96-97. [It’s worth reading Violet’s entire post here: Statute Songs]

§ I’ve been hearing Johnny Reid songs on the radio lately—and liking them. The first time I heard him,. NJ Lindquist was teaching at a local writers’ conference and she used one of his songs as an example of story: “Kicking Stones” . Again, it’s about how we choose to react to our circumstances.

§ My copy of Ann Voskamp‘s One Thousand Gifts arrived today. I’m sure it’s going to reinforce the message.

We may not have much control over what happens, but we can choose how to respond. We can choose where to focus. We can, by the grace of God, learn to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV*. Or in the fresh language of The Message we do it by “fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5, MSG**.

Johnny Reid’s official video for “Kicking Stones.” (2007, Open Road Records) 

*New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

**The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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