My heart crossed paths with conviction as I walked the trails today. All around me is the beauty of God’s creation. This was not the first time conviction found its way to my heart up here. Previously, I wrote these words..
“I met perspective up on this hill. I see the forest through the trees. I’ve tried ear buds and good music to spur me on as I make my way about these trails.
But, why? God’s creation sings here. If I cannot find motivation in that alone seeking instead to find motivation in that which man has created, then what’s the point? This place is my place because this place is His place.”
Today, as I found myself within this sanctuary of creation not far from my home, something dawned on me so obvious that I failed to see it any other time I have been here.
So often, my time is spent up here exhaling the worries and stresses of life. It truly is an altar.
But how often do I actually come here to worship at the altar when all around me is such beauty? How can I leave it at just that? How can I simply come here to unload without simply breathing in?
Sure, it feels great to unload here every day. It feels great to let go of the stuff of earth up on this hill. But why do I keep coming back each day with more to unload?
In our neighborhood each year, we have this community garage sale where everybody has their own sale. With this, I am always so amazed at how much stuff we can accumulate. How can each year, one can have so much stuff to sell at a garage sale?
At what point do we run out of stuff?
Now certainly, this side of Heaven, I don’t believe we’ll ever fully empty ourselves of stuff. But, something changed up there today.
If I am truly exhaling my stuff each day, than shouldn’t I be also inhaling His grace? And if I am constantly or daily inhaling His grace, than why is it not the first exhale I take be that of thanksgiving instead of always unloading?
Sure, we all have stuff. But, how we unload the stuff in a way that leads towards any type of traction in life must begin with inhaling His grace. To truly inhale His grace over unloading our stuff will always result in exhaling a heart of thanks. Or, it should.
Otherwise, all we are really doing is holding our breath, all in the name of taking a breath. What a sham.
At that point of the journey up on the hill today, something changed. A shift occurred that nearly brought me to my knees. Have you ever told God thanks… just because? Or, how often after that, do we then give thanks for those who have been placed in our care here.. this side of heaven? How often do we give thanks for those we are so blessed to serve each day in calling or career?
“6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
We sure are good at worrying and we sure are good at telling God what we need. But, too often, we sure aren’t too good at thanking Him for all He has done.
So perhaps in this, if giving thanks is the exhale of inhaling grace, than inhaling peace is the exhale of giving thanks, too.
The other thing that happened when the shift happened was what happens when you lead with thanks. Leading with thanks has the power to change perspectives. Suddenly the glass that was half empty now finds itself half full. Well actually, probably more liked full as in overflowing full.
But it was the most incredible of moments as I wound myself up the trail as the bitter cold wind whipped up against me. My posture towards life’s events and pending circumstances went from defensive to offensive. They went from oh-no to let’s go.
My heart crossed paths with conviction as I walked the trails today. All around me is the beauty of God’s creation. How could I come up here daily and not give thanks?
My life was crying out for my heart to finally… give thanks. WoW! How crazy. Where did all this peace come from?