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Thursday, November 24, 2016

This Thanksgiving...Dare Big!

 It is the season of giving thanks. We all do it...we all know it...except we identify it with ham and turkey and stuffing and all deliciousness...
To us, it is spelt out in pumpkins and all things harvest-like...and we gather with friends and family on one day every year and say that we're grateful...
But perhaps we're making the biggest mistake of all...perhaps when it comes to thanks, we really don't understand at all. I sadly think that many of us have relegated the return of our appreciation to God Himself to one day...one day!...when it should be a pattern of life, a cycle of 365...of gratitude always.
We have rushed on, pushed ahead in our heathenistic pursuit of success and money and fame and all the like...done so till we're worn out thin...and we have missed the point of everything...which is to glorify and thank Him!
This world calls for our attention constantly and we give it what it wants willingly. Too often we trade the cross-centered, grace-filled life for the "life" we think we're told to live...not the one that truly matters.
Honestly, what has held back my thanks has been my fear. Fear of not being enough, fear of messing up, fear of taking risks...I have played life too safe. I'll admit it...I have missed much because I wasn't willing to believe. I have walked the past of a doubter...because I didn't trust the perfect love which He gives...yes, that kind that casts out fears like mine.
His blessings and miracles have surrounded me all my life...and I know they surround yours too...but isn't it true that the statement "I've thanked too much" was said by no Christian ever?! We are forever in the minus when it comes to returning to God what we've been given. It is humanly impossible for us to give back when His storehouses of life abundant have poured out so freely! But even the acknowledgment of His goodness seems to be beyond us. We run on through the months, the years, hard thinking we're in this mad dash to the end called life and we have to do it all or else we've failed...
...but according to whom?! According to whom have we failed?!
Maybe we've simply failed ourselves...and because our vision is skewed, we are kept from witnessing the things God puts in front of us every single day. Maybe the life-lessons that are breathed in the simple are withheld because we are chasing something irrelevant to God...
I sit here...and I listen to Him speak in the heart...and I feel it resound within me deep: the things that the world considers relevant are irrelevant to God. To be a thanks-giver, one must become a thanks-liver, and the culture doesn't want a thing to do with us. If we choose to start breathing the gratitude and returning to the purpose for which we were made...if worship is to become a daily habit...then we must get used to be called out of touch...all because we desire to be in touch with God.
This desire started me down a path of searching five years ago. It's been five years now of chasing after His heart...of attempting to re-adjust my faulty thinking...of asking for His re-alignment so that every part of me is in sync with the God of the Universe. In those five years, I've learned more and more about the importance of thanks...that it is what keeps the darkness away...that it is what brings peace and meaning to the otherwise unexplainable.
And I have now come to a place where I want to dare...and I want to dare greatly. I'm tired of playing life safe...because I realize that I don't serve a safe God. I don't serve a God whose hands are tied from interfering with the souls of mankind, who just wound up this universe and is waiting for it all to crumble, who sits back and watches it all fall and fail and does nothing about it...I don't serve that kind of God. Some try to make Him out to be a softy...but I don't want any part of that kind of God. I want a God who dares greatly...because His daring led Him to a cross to die...because of love. His daring pitted Him against His culture too...in His day everybody knew you didn't hang out with outcasts and you didn't touch sick lepers and the like...but He did. He did because He enters into our messy...and He's not afraid to risk greatly in order to win us over.
If I am to follow His example, I need to begin believing big...I need to stop putting Him in a box and expecting small...I need to stop putting myself in a box and thinking that I can't take the leaps of faith He asks of me...He will always give what's required...and I need to trust that. He's calling me to greater levels of faith...levels that I feel I haven't even begun to tap into. To resist His calling is to resist new miracles that result when willing hearts are open to His plan.
And so...this Thanksgiving, I want to dare big. I'm tired of playing it safe. Perhaps you are too.
So let's make a deal together...before God...that starting now, this coming year will be different...
Let's agree that this will be the last year where our thanks-giving is limited to only one day of the year. Let's agree to the 365 challenge:
We'll believe more and fret less; we'll put faith into action over fear; we'll pray deeper and pray longer...even in the times when impossibly looms large, and we'll look for the little things to thank Him for...for everything becomes grace when you start to view everything as gift.