Want to Know Your Purpose? Start with Gratitude Part I

Have you ever wondered, God what is my purpose? Whelp, the Bible says that in every thing, we are to give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning us. When I first read this passage in the Bible, I thought it was a bit snarky.

Me like snarky.

Here I had come deeply brooding to seek the wisdom of the ages for my life, and I found the answer was simply to praise God.

What kind of manual for life was this book supposed to be?

But the Bible is not some rulebook and manual for life. And when we make life more complex than it is or needs to be, we cease to walk by faith and rely more on sight: our intellect, abilities, efforts in light of what is happening in our physical reality.

Snarkiness aside, I want to remind us that we are here on this earth to be grateful—To be expressions of gratitude, and to spread this sense of gratitude wherever we are.

We cultivate it from a depth of love and admiration of following God.

A thankful heart is an open heart. An open heart can receive versus a closed one. It is a humble heart. And God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. God’s grace and favor will outdo, outlast, and defy the logic of us humanfolk.

Similarly, I find that teachable and coachable people receive more than people who are resistant. If someone is going have a closed fist, I am not going to pry open their hands to receive. I am a messenger, a light, a planter, a waterer of sorts, a guide, but not a daggum crowbar.

Who do we think you and I get this quality from?

God.

He is not known as the Father of all Crowbars. He is the Father of all Creation.

Big difference, my folks.

Gratitude Gets

A few years ago, a friend said something to me that really stuck with me ever since. You know, it was one of those obvious truths that hearing it said aloud resonated me. She stated, “Some people’s attitudes make you want to help them and give to them, while others makes it really, really hard.” When we are wearing our halos, upright of course, and in the ideal case, we give regardless of the attitude of the recipient. We give without expecting anything in return. Like God, a number of us give to ungrateful folks. I count it as an exercise in growing in Jesus.

Nevertheless, true to our human nature, someone who is grateful and appreciative touches the heart in a way that allows for more of ease to do more. How often do we hear people say things like:

“I love her ungrateful attitude—makes me wanna to give her the world.”

“Nothing pulls on the heart strings like a spoiled brat.”

“I admire the lack of appreciation he has for those who support him.”

No one in her Gawd-given right mind ever talks like that.

When people are joyful and thankful, their attitude can  inspire us think of other ways to be a part of contributing to bringing more joy in the world. Besides, grateful people are awesome to be around. They are far more relaxing than chronic complainers and people who need cheese to go with their whine.

Smell the Roses

I want to encourage you, that in all the frantic hurriedness of contemporary living, to make the time to smell the roses, to create more moments to pause in taking in the blessings God has already given you. For most of my life, I lived by goals, objectives, benchmarks, plans, etc., continually moving from one target to the next. No matter what was accomplished, I believed I did not “have time” to celebrate. Indeed, in my world, celebrating came later, but later was an ever-moving goal post. No matter what I achieved, I did not truly stop to enjoy it because I had another goal in mind. Always, reaching, striving, and climbing.

That was it.

Although, I felt thankful to God, I had more of myself on the throne, treating Him as more of a consultant to the very steps He ordered.

In retrospect, how could I say I was truly thankful to God? I had a partial space of gratitude in my life. It was almost as if something would be wrong if I enjoyed life too much. I found more comfort in tugging and toiling than in the results. No matter what He allowed to come to pass, my focus on the next milestone yielded short-lived merriment. When I began to start pausing more, I began to wish I had stopped and smelled the roses more. And instead of languishing in the land of regret, I started smelling. It was that simple.

Presently, I find myself more and more slowing down to appreciate God’s goodness.

Even on what seems like the worst days, we can find a reason to express thanks.

You and I are alive.

And it is not a mistake.

It is not some strange accident that you are here in this very moment.

It is something to be thankful for.

Maybe, you feel like you could do more.

Be more.

See more.

Have more.

More, more, more.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still a believer in plans and goals.

On the other hand, when we lose sight of gratitude, ambition can become a prison.

When we focus on the lanes of everyone else, God’s blessed path for can feel like a trap.

We struggle to hear the whisper in our souls calling, “godliness with contentment is great gain.”

When we lose sight of God and gratitude for His remarkable and incredible love for us, we can find ourselves operating in our strength, trying to make things happen.

We find ourselves departing from wisdom and discernment.

We act out of the limits of fear, anger, and bitterness, when we can relish in abundance from perfect love. We start making dumb decisions.

I want you to cease comparing yourself in your storm or your sunshine.

Please remember this truth:

You are on your journey.

God made you incomparable.

Why bother comparing?

You can better spend that time in your purpose, in gratitude.

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