Gratitude in 2020

I saw a great meme on my social media that said, “the worst purchase I made in 2019 was a 2020 day-planner.”  What as weird time we live in.  I thrive in organization.  But with no way to plan for things just months in the future I find I’m filled from time to time with a sense of generalized anxiety.  Do any of you feel the same way?  I have to fight my fears just a little bit harder in 2020 than I did in 2019.  And because of my heightened fear reflex I have to be even more intentional with how I express generosity.  My fear tells me to keep everything I can because we don’t know how tomorrow may challenge us anew.

But then I engage my spirit and I realize that every day before this day has been the same since the Earth began rotating.  We never really know what will happen in the days set before us.  At any moment, like the book of Job teaches us so well, our world could be turned upside-down.  So I’ve chosen for this entry to focus on a scripture one doesn’t normally focus upon when considering generosity: 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

Be Thankful!  Be Grateful for what you have!  We hear those two things so often that they seem like white noise to me.  Besides, they don’t sound like sound fiscal planning to a guy like me in a job like I have.  When I hear “Give thanks” I always want to follow it with “and try to plan so that you have reason to be thankful in the future”.  Or when I hear “Be grateful” I want to add “and make sure every dollar has a purpose.”  Personally, I have moments of thankfulness and gratitude each and ever day, and they always touch me in ways I cannot adequately express in words.  But what I am lacking is the phrase that is only mentioned in the Bible in this one place by the Apostle Paul, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding”.  My moments of gratitude to not make me feel safe . . . at least not when they are moments I only experience in my head.

So I suppose what I am trying to get at is this.  I need in my life, and I’d like to challenge you in yours too, to experience gratitude while in touch with the Spirit also.  That seems to be the kind of gratitude that inspires generosity.  It’s a deeper, more peaceful, more satisfying sense of gratitude than just making a list of the reasons you have to be happy.  And the generosity inspired by this depth is a response to the fact that God gives you air and the permission to breathe it in and out each day you live as long as you live.

In this time and place I pray God may bring me, may bring you, that peace which surpasses all understanding.  Because if it could be understood it would just be in your head.

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