My life has been very challenging for the past several years. This has affected me in a way that is hard to describe. Although I have been trusting God and surrendering to his desire for me to pursue ministry, I have also begun to labor under a vague gloom, expecting hard battles and noticing every difficulty.
I was reading for a class assignment when I came across these words from George Buttrick: "We need to deliberately call to mind the joys of our journey. Perhaps we should try to write down the blessings of one day . . . thanksgiving should be quite specific." Buttrick diagnosed me. My awareness of burdens had overwhelmed my awareness of blessings. By being generally thankful for everything, I had become thankful for nothing.
For a remedy, I selected some simple exercises of remembrance and thanksgiving:
1. ten minutes of praise in my daily devotional time;
2. a list of a hundred specific blessings I am experiencing now;
3. two hours of remembrance and thanksgiving on Sundays.
I've been doing these exercises for four weeks. During my daily devotional time, I listen to and sing songs and write my thanksgiving to God. As I go through the day, I think of things to add to my growing list of blessings at suppertime. (The list has now grown to 125.) On Sundays, I spend two hours remembering what God has done in my life, being aware of his presence, talking to him, and offering a special thanksgiving offering.
This has been a good change for me. Without realizing it, I had gradually drifted into a devotional pattern devoid of praise to God. Joylessness was the result.
Now, I am noticing the way God's lovingkindness surrounds me: small touches, daily beauties, tender gifts, eternal blessings. I had forgotten how much I have been given. I had forgotten about delighting in the Lord. Now my remembrance ushers in praise and joy each day, and I find that the "joy of the Lord" brings fresh strength to me (Psalm 28:7).
How do you remember your blessings?
Photograph, goldenrod on the summit of Looking Glass Rock, Pisgah National Forest, copyright 2012 by Cassandra Frear.