and ramblings on everything in between
We went through a series at church this summer titled Life Verse. The pastors each shared a verse that has shaped their life and encouraged us to think about what our life verse is. I have a slew of Bible verses posted around my house, reminding me to be patient and to not be afraid. This one hangs above my desk and I honestly don’t pay it enough attention. I want to live it out every day, but I think I’ll have to tattoo it on my arm to remember to think about it (and even then, the ink would just become a part of my arm instead of a verse that jumps out at me each day. Oh, how we adapt…).
Today my ramble is about each piece of the verse in hopes that I’ll be able to truly put it into practice when the sun rises on each new day.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I wrote in a previous post that I want to make a conscious effort to choose joy. I try to be an upbeat person. Friends often comment that I’m good at finding the silver lining in every situation. I think the external me is positive, but the internal me likes to obsess on the negative. I don’t think I’m a good enough writer or make enough money. I complain about minor details and things that other people would love to have. I sometimes wish my life was different and that God’s plan for me was much more grandiose.
I want to turn these thoughts into continuous rejoicing. I have so much to be happy about and I have more than I need to survive. I want that to be enough. I’m alive and breathing and in love with God, and I want that to be enough to rejoice about each day.
My sister recently shared a picture with me that said, “Pray. It causes miracles.” I agree with that saying 100%. I’m a part of the prayer team at church and there are many instances when people have asked us to pray about a dire situation, where doctors say there’s no chance someone will make it and all hope is lost, but the story ends up having a happy ending. I’ve seen lives changed by prayer too many times to deny its power. I understand that we can’t change God’s will. I understand that His plan will be played out regardless of if or how much we pray. I get that. But I also understand how prayer has changed something inside of me. I’ve seen it strengthen my own relationship with God, and being in constant conversation with Him helps me to hear when He speaks. I think being disciplined enough to turn to Him when times are good and when times are bad shows that you really know where your hope and faith lies.
Thankfulness is something we choose, just like joy. I can choose to wake up and be mad at the world, or I can choose to wake up and be thankful that I’m alive. Some days it isn’t easy to put on a smile and welcome everything that comes our way. Some days we just want to break down and cry. Regardless of if we’re up or if we’re down, we can stop ourselves from focusing on the negative and embrace the beauty that is around us. What if we replaced our ungrateful thoughts with a prayer? How would that change our focus and our day? When I find myself drifting into dark spaces, I pray for God to take those thoughts away, I pray for a thankful heart, I pray for my eyes to be opened.
Now that I’ve rambled it, my challenge for myself is to put legs on it. A previous small group leader of mine asked us how we could put our faith into action, how we could make it sprout legs and start walking. It became our joke to “put legs on it.” My focus will be putting legs on rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. What do you need to put legs on this week?