Gratitude Friday: How to Begin Building a Life of Gratitude, Week 2…

Hey, friends!  How did last week’s Plumb Line beginning go?  Did you get the work started?  Did you picture Jesus rejoicing over your work beginning?

Personally, I am grateful my mom was in town last weekend to attend Pumpkin’s awards ceremony.  We got in some great Mother/Daughter time after the ceremony.  We headed to the big city and ate gluten-free Bananas Foster pancakes and, y’all, they might just be the most delicious things I have ever eaten.  Sweet mercy.  After that?  An antique shop.  Obviously.

So my Plumb Line list included…

  1. My Mom
  2. Adorable kinder awards
  3. Amazing teachers
  4. Rain (we need it ’round here)
  5. GF pancakes
  6. A reliable car to get us there
  7. A vintage tablecloth my mom bought for me

I mean, can we just pause for a second to swoon over this?

Vintage Tablecloth

Be prepared to see that Lovely in lots of upcoming photos.

Like this one.

Gratitude Friday

Y’ALL.

Now, as promised, this week, we’re gonna dive into the weird and mysterious world of childhood conversations.

The other day, I eavesdropped (from the hallway) (I’m mostly sneaky about it) on a conversation between my kids and their friends which almost turned into a nasty fight.  Voices were raised and faces were made and arms were crossed.

In our house, part of our belief system we teach our kids is that God owns all things.  He creates, ordains, provides every.single.thing.  We talk about being good stewards of our finances, our toys, our clothes, our food, our home, our cars, our books, our everything.  Because nothing exists, including us, without His deliberate say so.

“For in him all things were created:  things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things are held together.” ~ Colossians 1:16-17

I don’t feel like there’s much wiggle room in that.

So yes, my daughter’s Princess Dream Castle exists because Jesus is literally holding it together.

My son’s Batman Lego vehicle continues to roll because Jesus allows the wheels to stay attached.

(And based on the amount of banging into the things that Batman vehicle does, Jesus has to hold those wheels together A LOT.)

We teach our miracles they are God’s, the house is God’s, the cars are God’s, the food in the pantry is God’s.  All the things we can see, touch, smell, taste, and feel belong to God.

(We’ll get to the invisible someday.)

And so this was the basis for the argument.  Or almost argument.

My four-year-old son says, “Everything belongs to God!”

Our ten-year-old neighbor says, “Yes, but He gave it to us so it’s ours.”

Four-year-old, “BUT GOD CREATED EVERYTHING!”

Ten-year-old, “Yes, but He give it to us as gifts!”

And around and around and around.

Neither of them is wrong.  Everything does belong to God and He does give it to us.

I intervened to say just that.  Both the four-year-old and the ten-year-old were getting extremely frustrated.

As I walked away from explaining to the kids they were both right, I couldn’t help but think about the difference in maturity.

Right?

We teach our children everything belongs to God.  Simple as that.  And that is not wrong.  But the next step in our journey is everything belongs to God and sometimes, He gives it to us to take care of.

Like my children.  They are mine but they are really only loaners.  God has entrusted their lives, their hearts, and their minds to us.  My job is to point them back to Jesus.  Because they are His.

Or my house.  The house we live in belongs to God.  He has entrusted us with the care, maintenance, and spiritual environment of our house.  My job is to use my house for Kingdom purposes.  Because my house belongs to God.

One more.  My time belongs to God.  He ordains and commands every breath I take.  He has entrusted my time to me to use for His glory.  How I spend my time, how I view my time, how I plan my time is for Him.  Because my time belongs to God.

My parents taught me the same lessons about God and His dominion and His kingdom and stewardship.  But somewhere, I grew out of that lesson.

Because remember, I was possibly the dumbest twenty-something who ever lived.

To be honest, I cannot exactly pinpoint the moment I took over for God.  But I know without a doubt, I did.  I stopped believing He was and is and forever will be Everything.  I forgot that “in him, all things are held together.”

Instead, I believed I held everything.  In my own will, my own hard work, my own written-in-pen life plan, that was the place where I became the author of my own destiny.

And it was a lie.  A LIE.

The exact moment we realize we are so NOT God is the exact moment we face the one thing we cannot fix or change or escape based on our own will, hard work, or plan we create.

But what happens, if instead of waiting for that moment of confusion and frustration and exhaustion, we decided to acknowledge God in Everything right now?  What if we started giving Him credit (the glory) from this moment?

What if we were to be grateful for all things being held together in Jesus?

Do you wanna find out?

Let’s try.

Life of Gratitude Week 2

2. Be grateful for all things held together.

This week, we’re going to look at every.single.thing in our lives and thank God for them.  Individually.

Does that sound impossible?

It absolutely is.

But here’s where the BUT GOD thing happens.

When we offer God our praise and gratitude for our plumb line, the work begins.  But, ahem, HE began the good work in you and HE will be faithful to complete it.  So you thought you started the work, but really, God started the work IN YOU.  A good work.  And He will be faithful in that work.  To bring it to completion.

I kinda hope my completion is sometime after my 99th birthday, when, obviously, I will be living in one of those fancy retirement communities having wine with my friends after a day of tennis.  DON’T talk to me about how I don’t drink wine or play tennis.  It’s my dream and I’ll tennis if I want to.

But I get it.  ALL THE THINGS feels like kind of a lot.  And I don’t have any way to convince you it really is so simple other than to promise it is and pray you can trust me enough to try.

Of course, you know I wouldn’t leave you without a tool, a new little printable.  Just a cute something to help the impossible feel possible.

This week, we’ve got four categories: Shelter, Stuff, Shepherding, Subsequent.

(Yes, I know.  Subsequent is a stretch but I liked the all “S” thing.  Your pastors do it every week.  You can forgive me this once.)

Shelter includes your home, vehicles, air conditioned movie theaters in July.  You know the places in your world where you go for refuge, for safety, for protection.  Be grateful for all the ways God provides you shelter.

Stuff seems pretty self-explanatory.  Furniture, clothes, toys, all the white china cake stands I seem to be unable to resist buying.  All the possessions we have which are mostly, let’s face it, luxury.  Be grateful for those, big and small, because we are so abundantly blessed.

Shepherding. The people, resources, and environments where we have been given authority.  Believe me, if you are reading this, you are leading, shepherding.  You ARE a leader.  Someone in your life is watching and learning and following your lead.  Be grateful for them.  List them by name or by the group or by a place where you meet.

Subsequent (and you’ve already forgiven me for this word) represents everything yet to come.  The prayers and wishes and dreams you have for your future.  Could be healing or provision or words written and read by more people than your mom.  It is still finished, friend.  And we may not know exactly what the finished work will look like but we can praise Jesus for it.  Be grateful for the victories already coming.

Shelter, stuff, shepherding, and subsequent.

All things held together.

In Jesus.

Be grateful that in our precious, loving, generous, sacrificial Savior all things seen and unseen in heaven and on earth have been created in Him, through Him, for Him and He holds it all together.

What a Savior.

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