And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
Gratitude is an Act of Faith – The Gratitude Series – Part 2
Belonging to “a faith” doesn’t automatically make someone a grateful person (don’t we know it). We know that faith is not a set of decrees, beliefs, dogmas, or doctrines: faith is a way to live and move in the world.
Gratitude is a sure sign that you are on a faithful path.
Someone who lives from a perspective of lack is always complaining and comparing; conceiving ways to get more to fill up all the lack in their life. They take, and they take, always wanting what they feel they are missing.
Now, some of us are more prone to this than others. I’m a ‘4' on the Enneagram (The Enneagram is a description of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I found it through Father Richard Rohr and Ian Cron. Check Amazon or Google for more info), which makes me an individualist. One of the descriptions of being “An Individualist” is that four’s feel like they are inherently missing something.
When I first came across the Enneagram and read that, I related to it instantly. I have always felt like something was missing, and I needed to find it. The Enneagram has helped me harness that emotion and use it for good, rather than my (and others) detriment. Cultivating a gratitude practice has been a huge part of the journey. Because while I focus so intently on what I don’t have, I miss the beauty of what I do have. In fact, I can even forget about all the wondrous things that I am, have, and have happened to me, altogether.
Gratitude shifts our focus back to the miracle we are, right here, right now, at this moment, in the world, with these people, with what we have. While we’re busy looking for a miracle, we fail to notice that we are already one.
“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Every morning in Jewish culture, the people recite a prayer before they do or say anything else:
“I am thankful before You, living and enduring King, for you have mercifully restored my soul within me. Great is Your faithfulness.”
To see this moment for what it is, to hold the tension of the beauty and the mess of it – sometimes the horror and the wonder of it – is a tremendous act of faith. The “big acts of faith” that we hear preached about don’t stack up to the act of faith it is to own one's life and stand tall in it with confidence and gratitude.
Paul wrote to his friends and said: “And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:18 NIV.)
Gratitude is God’s will for you and your life. Because it is the very thing that makes you come to life.
Yes, you might be missing some things. Yes, there is pain and grief. Yes, things aren’t perfect.
But the earth is still spinning, and we are here with breath in our lungs and light in our hearts, “dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”