Spiritual Disciplines // GRATITUDE AND SERVICE
By Donia Hovet
This past week Isaac reminded us that apprentices of Jesus develop GRIT in the face of challenges. Some other words for grit: Determination. Pluck. Mettle.
One of my favorite movies is Julie and Julia. It tells the parallel stories of two women, who came into their own during different decades, but who had to overcome in order to achieve. One of the women was Julia Child, famous chef, writer and TV personality. The road to success was long and filled with obstacles, but through it all, her tenacity and resolve was inspiring and transformed her life. To me, Julia was the essence of pluck.
I want to be “plucky.” One of they keys to being a person of pluck is gratitude. Nothing derails doubt, fear, hopelessness, annoyance, anger, resentment or pain like a hefty does of gratitude. Thankfulness is the antidote for any number of vices which threaten to rob us of our grittiness.
Maybe this is why we see so many expressions of thanksgiving and praise in the Psalms. Spending time thanking God upends the enemy’s plans to keep us chained to anxiety, doubt and fear. Gratitude is one of the most effective and accessible weapons of spiritual warfare we can wield and yet one of the hardest to pull out of its sheath when we don’t FEEL like it.
This past year has been a year of loss, pain, frustration, confusion and fear. Yet, there is so much for which to be thankful. As we apprentice to Jesus today, we are going to give thanks as a way of deepening our grit. When we are truly thankful, even for the hardships we endure, we can be truly resolved to keep going.
- Read Psalm 9 out loud (We’ll let the example of David help us get in the frame of mind to express gratitude!).
- Make a list of 5-10 LOSSES that you (or your kids/loved ones) experienced this year. Leave some blank space between each one.
- In the spaces under each LOSS, thank God for the opportunity that presented itself in the midst. Think: how have I grown because of these struggles? -OR- What have I gained that is unseen? For example:
- LOSS: We were cooped up for months.
- GRATITUDE: We turned our dining room table into a ping pong table and I got to spend some time hanging with my son that wouldn’t have happened otherwise!
- Read Romans 8:28 and then spend some time thanking God for the ways you have seen him work in your life, turning challenges to good as you have trusted him.