What a year we have had! Different from any other than we have known – which may be said of any year – but let’s be honest – not with quite the magnitude of 2020! It’s been filled with a pandemic that’s included confusion, fears, deaths, arguments, economic struggles, and disasters, loss of lives and jobs and sanity – and the list goes on. We have watched riots of various degrees and reasons, and political chaos, not to mention all of the individual happenings in our own lives.
So how, in this crazy messed up world, can we be thankful? And, for what can we be thankful? As I was typing these questions, a song I heard and sang often growing up in church came to mind. Count Your Blessings, was just a hymn in those days but little did I know that the words were teaching me a lesson I would use throughout the course of my life. I don’t know when it happened, but for as long as I can remember it has actually been a ‘go-to’ for me in times of trouble or sadness. I have used its underlying principle of naming my blessings whenever life is challenging, or disappointing, depressing, discouraging … well, you get the picture. Since any of those words could easily sum up 2020 it isn’t surprising that it comes to mind now.
In looking up the lyrics – so that I could make sure to include all the right words and the writers name, I came across this quote published in a “Story Behind the Song“, in the St. Augustine Record. Since it goes to the heart of the issue that led to me writing today’s post it seems very fitting to share here –
All too often, in this great land of America, we seem to lapse into a state of ingratitude, taking for granted all of the blessings and comforts we enjoy. We revert into an attitude of self-satisfaction, expecting that peace and bliss will always follow us. During those times we should, with sincerity of heart, count our blessings!”Posted November 20, 2014
The author of the quote, whose name I could not find, hits the proverbial nail on the head with saying that – “we seem to lapse into a state of ingratitude”, though, I would add self-entitlement to the reasoning of “self-satisfaction”. Here’s why, the word attitude is defined as – “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” Let’s face it – if our gratitude is dependent on self our preconceived satisfaction and entitlements will always fall short and leave us, ultimately, in some form of despair. However, when our settled way of thinking and feeling about anything is based on God, who He is and what He’s done, we will always find something to be thankful for. Ann VosKamp said it like this, Joy is a function of gratitude – and gratitude is a function of perspective. Yes, even in this epic year there is something to be thankful for. I encourage you – here and now – name one blessing – one thing in 2020 that you are thankful for … then another and another. Count them – name them one by one – I promise you will be surprised at what God has done – in your life, in another’s, or in our world. Stop and take a minute to comment below with one thing you’re thankful for … you might just inspire a list of gratitude in someone else.
No amount of regret changes the past,
no amount of anxiety changes the future,
any amount of gratitude changes the present.– Ann VosKamp