Wednesday, October 31, 2012

THANKFULNESS by Ashley Newman

(Articles between now and Thanksgiving will be based on questions to ask yourself so you can prepare your heart to truly be thankful. They are written by different women in our church. You may want to read the first one, Preparing for Thanksgiving, by Christie Smith.

“Where do I want to be a year from now? 5 years from now? 10 years? 20 years?”

My time in college has consisted a lot of me thinking, “Where do I want my life to be in the next 5 years?” That thought consumes much of my time, especially now that I am graduating in about 6 months. There are so many things that I want to do and see and accomplish. Personally, when I think about the next 10 years, let alone just the next year, I get stressed out. I don’t know about you, but it seriously stresses me out. There is no way I can do all the things that I want to.

Now, I know most of you are probably not in college. Maybe you have already accomplished many of things that I want to. Maybe you have an awesome job that you love; maybe you are married; maybe you have kids, who drive you crazy, but they are the best thing that has ever happened to you; maybe you have traveled the world and seen so much. These are all things that I want for my life in the next 20 years. If at this point you’re thinking, “How can I relate to this college girl,” don’t worry. Here’s how: 

God doesn’t promise these things to anyone. He doesn’t say that any of these things will for sure happen for me, or you. There is no verse that says, “I will give you a husband and kids, a great job, a lot of money, and everything you want.” And that’s for everyone. Not just me.

This frustrates me because I want to know that I’m going to have all those things. And even if you do have all these things, I guarantee you that there are things that you long for, things that you hope will come your way soon. Maybe you don’t like your job, or you don’t have a husband or kids, and you desperately long for them. Maybe you feel like you can’t respect your parents because they have hurt you in the past.

Recently, I’ve learned that although God does not promise to give us everything we want and when we want it, He does promise this:

Psalm 37:3-5 - “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”*

*Disclaimer: When it says that he will give you the desires of your heart, remember that it says to delight yourself in him first. And it doesn’t mean that he will give you everything you want if you delight in him; it means that once you delight in him, his desires for your life will become yours. 

We just need to love God, trust in Him, and serve Him. That’s the most important thing we can do with our lives. Nothing matters more. For this truth, I am thankful. I need to be thankful for my life, and ALL of it, because I am not entitled to any of it. And neither are you. Jesus gives us life, joy, struggles, bad days, good days, hope, and love because He loves us.

So where do I want my life to be in a year, 5 years, 20 years?

I want to be serving my creator and serving His creation.

Take time today and reflect on God’s workings in your life. Be thankful for your life, and ALL of it, even if it isn’t where you want to be at the moment. Be thankful that you serve a God who cares about the little details of your life, just because He loves you and wants to.

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