The discipline of choosing gratitude is a means for me to make a declaration of my faith to God. My choice to live in gratitude is between God and I. For me, practicing gratitude is a way to say, "Hello God, you have my undivided attention today. I will depend upon you for my sustenance. I want to feel that you are close to me. I want to be in your presence." Gratitude is a spiritual practice that evolves in our hearts; as we choose to walk in it, daily. At the deepest point, gratitude grows out of the silence of our hearts.
In the book, Choosing Gratitude, the author, Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes, "But in those moments when I have found myself grasping for air, feeling that I was going under, I've discovered that gratitude truly is my life preserver. Even in the most turbulent waters, choosing gratitude rescues me from myself and my runaway emotions. It buoys me on the grace of God and keeps me from drowning in what otherwise would be my natural bent toward doubt, negativity, discouragement, and anxiety." Pg. 17
When we are alone with Christ, one-on-one in the silence, there is an intimacy that reveals unwavering love, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance. Silence is the doorway to peace. No compromise, no questioning, just me….and GOD, one-on-one. Christ, reaching out His hand to bring me comfort.
While the world spins out of control, and I hear terrible things on the news—of loss and murder, of bombs and tragedy, of hatred, wars, hunger and death…when I am alone with my Creator, everything is beautiful. He took the scars of the world upon his own hands, he wore the thorny crown that pierced the skin, wounded for our transgressions and yet, the God I know, reaches out His hand to me and it is without flaws.
I am certain when during this week I receive a phone call that the grandbaby of my dear friend has been diagnosed with Leukemia, that the boy is in the loving hands of our God; reassured that my very own fears of death pale in comparison to life everlasting. I pray silently that Christ would breathe his warm, soft breath over this boy and into his lungs and the blood that runs through his veins, because He is a God of miracles.
I pray for the hush of silent peace to rush over his mama's aching heart, and to whirl around his family. I silently give thanks for the miracles He is already performing.
"Think about the overall makeup of your prayers. Are they out of balance in favor of asking and seeking? Are they top-heavy with complaints about your current condition or circumstances? Or—even in those times when you feel a desperate need for God's action and intervention—do your prayers include expressions of gratitude?" Pg. 103
As I commune with God in my fleshly, self-centric way, praying for my own needs, God reveals to me the innermost hurts and burdens of those around me. I am left with a hole inside of me from all of the needs I never noticed because I have not drawn close enough to Christ often enough to see people through His eyes. When He transforms my eyes into His own, I begin to understand and feel more compassion and love for others.
"Hold out your hand", Christ urges…. I hold out my clenched fist, wrought with human experience. His hand gently opens mine and the heart of stone that I have held onto so tightly becomes like clay. Tears fall like rain, each drop bearing the name of someone I may have missed, overlooked, dismissed, hurt, or abandoned. Each falling tear also representing my own hurts, fears and sadness My new found awareness hastens me to choose gratitude.
"As you grow in gratitude, you will be so blessed by its reward and spiritual significance that you won't feel as though it's an effort to accomplish it. Whatever mechanics it requires to get it up and running will soon fall away to the freedom of pursuing it with passion." Pg. 220
"Choosing Gratitude" is a great book for those of us who are on a spiritual journey to discover the secrets of gratitude and the journey to joy. Thank you to Moody Publishers for offering me a copy of this book for review. This is a 5 star book and a great addition to my spiritual library.