My devotional this morning by Helen Steiner Rice read: “Many of us go through our lives almost as sleepwalkers. We take care of our responsibilities, do our jobs and have a little fun from time to time. But we fail to live in a life-changing awareness of our Christian faith. We fail to realize to a large extent the benefits of having God in our lives.” In other words, we fail to be aware of His presence. We fail to see the gifts that He gives us on a daily, minute-by-minute basis. We fail to see that He is here with us right now, helping, healing and restoring. I’m sure we all want to stop living as sleepwalkers, but how is this possible? How can we be in a place to realize the benefits of having God in our lives?
Several years back, I read the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. I realized as I read this book that God is constantly involved in my life and I realized that I wanted to be aware and thankful in each moment. I also realized that I needed a tool to help me be aware of His presence. Mrs. Voskamp wrote about having a thankful journal. Since then, I have kept my own journal thanking God for each gift that He gives me. I just started my third and it has been life-changing. I take it with me wherever I go; not to let others see, but with the expectation that God is going to show me something else to be thankful for that day. I want to be aware and ready with my pen to acknowledge His gifts to me. It also has helped in situations where I have struggled to see something in which to be thankful. I have sat with pen in hand until I have heard His voice whisper something to write down in my journal. I am able then to focus on God and not the situation.
At first, I didn’t want to keep writing the same things over and over again, but then I realized isn’t a gift still a gift even if it is the same one over and over? Isn’t a breath of air as great a gift in this moment as it was last week? Isn’t safety on the road worthy of thanking God for today as well as yesterday? Don’t I still want to be thanked when I fix meals for the family every day? Is it the same process? Yes, but it’s still my gift to them. Do I fix their meals to get praise? No, but it draws us closer together when they acknowledge the time it took and are thankful. It makes all of us enjoy the moment more.
On a side note, Facebook and other technological instruments are great for recording things, but I really want to encourage you to get out an old-fashioned notebook and pen and etch out your thankfulness with your own hand. There is something about taking that time and seeing your own handwriting that reminds us that God gave that gift to us personally as His own, dear child.
As we are gearing up for so many Holidays over the next few weeks, let’s not sleepwalk through them. Let’s choose to be aware and thankful of Him and His presence. Let’s truly do as Philippians 4:8 says: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” Knowing that as James 1:17 says, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” Let’s acknowledge the presence of the One who makes all beautiful things possible. Let’s ask Him to help us to see Him today and then thank Him when we do.
O, Lord, help us to see You. Help us to know that You are with us. Help us to thank You.