Along with everyone else, I’ve had quite a strange year. A pandemic, natural disasters, civil unrest, political strife–a heaping portion of everything it seems. It’s been hard to deal with.
If we were only dealing with a single one of these difficulties, it would be bad enough. Yet we’re smack dab in the midst of all of it. It’s an unrelenting stream of bad news, enough to dishearten even the most optimistic among us.
I believe in transparency with my readers. This year has caused an emotional and spiritual battle unlike any I’ve encountered in a long time. Besides all these shared traumas, I’ve had some personal trauma as well.
One of my dear friends and colleagues passed away six months ago today. I haven’t had closure. We couldn’t attend a funeral and it’s still not really a good time to gather to remember her. Her loss is just hanging in the air like smoke that won’t clear.
I also had to worry about my parents being unable to get from FL back to NJ at the height of the lockdown. A close family member and husband were ill with COVID as well. Lots of worries and heartache this year.
The toll of all these things? I’ve gained a few pounds. I’ve struggled with feeling down and hopeless at times. My devotional and prayer life took a nose dive a few months back. I’ve since gotten back on track.
Some months ago, I was reading a devotional that talked about being “fueled by gratitude”. I saved the idea in a notetaking app on my phone because it struck me. Last week, as I scrolled through the notes, I found it again.
While it isn’t wrong to feel fear or despair, I realize I’d been residing there. I constantly ruminated about what was bad, what was missing, what was out of my control. I’d forgotten to set up camp in a place of gratitude. That’s where we should live as Christians.
Instead of acknowledging and coping with my disappointment, I allowed it to fuel me.
Once I got to thinking about these things, I was reminded of all the ways God has blessed us in 2020. My family member got better and was not hospitalized. My parents got home safely. My friend and I shared a wonderful relationship over the years before she died. My family didn’t lose income. We had enough to eat in the months when many other families struggled.
Shifting my fuel source back to gratitude has changed my inner life. It’s changed my spiritual walk and my daily dealings. When we are fueled by gratitude, we honor God and impact the world for Him more effectively. I have become more intentional about not allowing myself to slip into being fueled by fear and disappointment.
Here are some scriptures to encourage you as you seek to be fueled by gratitude:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, ESV)
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” (Psalm 28:7, NIV)
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4, ESV)
It’s a daily decision–one that is aided by time in the Word and prayer. I thank God for His faithfulness, which crowds out all the other things. He is far too great to be eclipsed by my earthly troubles. He is Lord over all.
With Love and Gratitude,
Hi! I’m Tracy…Christ-follower, wife, mama, writer, blogger, speaker, teacher, dreamer. I love Earl Grey Tea and quiet mornings. Here at Earl Grey and Yellow, the focus is striving to be faithful and appreciate the small things. So glad you stopped by. Please have a look around and subscribe to our newsletter and social media to stay connected.