During my daily runs, I've been listening to One Thousand Gifts on my audible app and as Ann's voice echoes through my ears, this one word is repeated until it seeps deep into my heart and remains there long after I put my running shoes and headphones away for the day...eucharisteo.
And there is November - which in this country is equivalent with Thanksgiving. Already my social media feeds are filled with people doing the daily Thanksgiving challenge posting every day what they're thankful for.
Yet, my heart feels restless, because at my core, I don't live a grateful life. It pains me to admit it, because one of the core foundations of my faith is to always give thanks to the Lord for everything.
The thing is, I'm good at giving thanks for the big things - my health, family, church, salvation, food and general blessings. I say thank you for answered prayers and for God's word. Most of the time, I also thank God for the hard moments that bring me to my knees.
It's not enough though.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18
This is faith in the simplest form - rejoice, pray and give thanks all the time, for everything, without ceasing. The more verses I read about giving thanks, the more I realize what a grateful heart looks like.
It's a life without worry, insecurity, anger, envy or anything else that brings us down.
Instead, its a life of peace, unconditional love, grace, fulfillment and joy that exceed the limits of this world.
All of this (and more!) is gratitude.
It's not just saying thank you for the big things, or even the little things. It's something so much deeper - a way of life that colors your thoughts and actions every day.
To me, it's terrifying, because a grateful heart 24/7, 365 days a year requires giving up a whole lot of stuff that's filled my life for a long time.
It means looking in the mirror and always loving the reflection I see. It means saying thank you even on a bad hair day or when nothing in my closet seems to fit. It means saying thank you when I do bad on a test at school or feel utterly inadequate about my abilities. It means saying thank you for the times there are no finances to make it through the next semester of school or make car repairs.
It means saying thank you for what feels like unanswered prayers. It means feeling joy even on the days when nothing seems to go right. It means letting go of all the worry and insecurities forever. It means to have a heart that is brimming with so much love and thanks that it spills into my words and actions until my life brims with so much joy and peace until it become contagious. It's a state of being where a person's face glows, even if everything in the whole world is falling to pieces.
This post - these words - still feel inadequate. Yet, they consume my thoughts and leave my heart aching for more. Gratitude - such a simple, basic concept of our faith, but I continue to struggle to fully implement into my life.
So I'm starting in the only place I know: on my knees. As a pray for a grateful heart, I'm approaching each moment a bit more intentionally, reminding myself as often as I can every day to say thank you for anything and everything that comes to mind.
What does giving thanks mean to you? How do you live it out?