And that got me thinking. There are so many little things that we take for granted. But often, it's not until those little things are taken away that we realize how much we depend on them. Like not having running water. God has poured so many blessings over us, yet so often we are blind to them.
In my post, Everyday Life, I talk about finding joy in the little things. But really – how do we find joy in the little things? People say that joy is a choice. Yes, it is a choice, but you can’t force yourself to be joyful. So where do we find true, genuine joy?
I read a wonderful book this year called One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. She shares how she suffered from anxiety and depression, and how she came to find true joy. It is an excellent book, and one that I would recommend reading.
So what is the key to this mystery? What is the key to the well of joy?Thankfulness.
Allow me to expound on this (you really should just read the book). Suppose someone gives you a present. What would you do? You would thank the giver of the gift, right?
Each and every moment is God-given. It is a gift. Every moment He gives us is a gift, with something beautiful and wonderful inside. But so often we are consumed with ourselves, or our lives, or what’s going on around us, that we are blind to these gifts.
Blind to joy.
Have you ever suddenly, out-of-the-blue, been struck by the enormity of what Jesus did for you? Have you ever just been overwhelmed with this feeling of thankfulness for all that He did and continues to do? And doesn’t it make you feel… joyful? I’ve had those moments, and they are beautiful.
We are incredibly undeserving, filthy, sinful, ugly beings. And yet God continues to pour out blessing upon blessing. Shouldn’t we thank Him for these gifts? Obviously, it’s impossible to thank Him for every gift – they are innumerable. But what if we thanked Him for each one that came to mind? Whenever you feel awed or wowed by something – whether an incredible sunset, the intricate complexity of the human body, or running water – stop and thank God for it. Feeling a subconscious gratitude isn’t enough. We need to actually voice our thanksgiving and praise to Him.
This morning, when I started writing this blog post, I looked out the window and saw a little chickadee hopping through the snow. As I watched it, I thought, Thank You for this moment, God. It’s such a simple, ordinary little thing; a bird hopping through the snow. But I was the only one who saw it, who got to enjoy it. God gave this moment to me, and that made it special.
There is a gift in every moment. My challenge to you is to look for it. And more than that, to thank God for it. He made it for you.
“Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” (Gen. 21:19)
In this wilderness, I keep circling back to this: I’m blind to joy’s well every time I really don’t want it. The well is always there. And I choose not to see it. Don’t I really want joy? Don’t I really want the fullest life? For all my yearning for joy, longing for joy, begging for joy –is the bald truth that I prefer the empty dark? Prefer drama? Why do I lunge for control instead of joy? Is it somehow more perversely satisfying to flex control’s muscle? Ah – power – like Satan. Do I think Jesus-grace too impotent to give me the full life? Isn’t that the only reason I don’t always swill the joy? If the startling truth is that I don’t’ really want joy, there’s a far worse truth. If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment – am I not ultimately rejecting God? Whenever I am blind to joy’s well, isn’t it because I don’t believe in God’s care? That God cares enough about me to always offer me joy’s water, wherever I am, regardless of circumstance. But if I don’t believe God cares, if I don’t want or seek the joy He definitely offers somewhere in this moment – I don’t want God.
~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
I apologize that this post is a little disorganized. I guess I shouldn’t be writing at eleven thirty at night. ;P Plus, this is a rather extensive topic, and I don't feel like I can do it complete justice in a blog post.