If there is anything I’ve learned so far, the most noteworthy and honest thing is: a grateful heart is a force of nature.
There was a season in my life where I felt left behind and frost-bitten. Constantly comparing my handful of high-fives and way-to-gos to other humans’ success stories. I could hardly offer a bit of well-written advice on how to survive while these other great souls were living out their dreams fully and unapologetically. I’d lie in bed at night with that queasy question, “what about me?” And if you know this question, you know it leaves you alone with your teeth chattering, afraid, and with a chill that the warmest quilt in the world can’t shake.
Because I was constantly pointing my finger like a child in a toy store at other people’s gifts, I slowly forgot about my own gifts God had placed in my pocket. My gifts were just rattling around in my back pocket like loose change. Sometimes they’d clank together and make a familiar noise when God would gently remind me of them. But, I would scoff at just the mere smell of them. “God, can’t you see? Writing isn’t all that its cracked-up to be. Besides, no one reads anymore. And people with English degrees end up right where they started once they graduate. Can I trade this out for something?”
So with that thought, I tried my hand at other gifts. All which ended up with a bullseye of failure on my forehead. When I’d fail, I’d slump off to the security of my bedroom and throw my hands up at God wondering why He was forgetting about me. I’d lie there in silence with Him with that same soft and familiar rattling sound of my gifts clanking together once again like marbles in the pocket of my jeans. Gently reminding me of what I had to do.
After a while, my heart became tired of being stubborn. My soul was exhausted and constantly stretching out it’s arms as far as it could reach to my typewriter. But sitting down and writing was basically signing myself up for long nights that turn into days, tears, and becoming honestly raw in front of humanity. As Ernest Hemingway puts it, “It’s easy to write. Just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.” I gulped but felt God’s presence like a warm and comforting hand softly squeezing mine.
Being grateful was one of my first weapons of choice I used to combat the enemy in this new journey of embracing my gifts. I became thankful of where I am, who I am, and the gifts in my hand rather than comparing myself to the rest of humanity. I started the day by whispering sweet and organic “thank-yous” for the breath in my lungs and the smell of coffee hitting my nose. When small things happened that made me crack a smile, another “thank you” would slip from my lips. Slowly but surely, this became my everyday. Slowly but surely, my heart became softer, warmer, and full of thanks.
A grateful heart is a force to be reckoned with. It’s one of the reasons people do live out their dreams, find their callings, and live beautiful captivating lives. The enemy can’t parade his shiny and shifty lies around your heart when your heart is too busy hanging pictures up on the walls depicting thanks and praise in golden frames. Being grateful has wonderful symptoms. It bleeds out into your happiness, your everyday life, your fullness, your health, and is even contagious among other humans. A grateful heart is warm, honest, and nearly impossible to ignore.
I hope you too pull your gifts out of your back pocket. I hope your mornings are filled to the brim with love soaked “thank yous” and “amens”. I hope you don’t let your back-pocket gifts clank together for as long as I did. I hope your heart is grateful and a greenhouse for growing your dreams.
Verses that inspire thankfulness, encouragement, wisdom, and love:
- Psalm 100
- Psalm 34:1-22
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (or 5:12-24 because it’s so beautiful)