Hi, girls! I recently did this guest post over on Kiara’s blog as the reward for the COVID-19 Spring Activity Challenge. If you want to read this over on her blog, click here. Be sure to stop by and congratulate her!!
“Ugh. God, why did you give me this? Are you sure you did this right? My plans made so much sense, and I just don’t like your plan.”
We may not complain out loud, but many of our attitudes about quarantine are revealing ungrateful hearts. When Kiara asked me to write about joyfulness, gratitude was the first thing that came to mind. We often think of joyfulness as constant happiness, and because of our wrong definition of joy, we feel it is unattainable. How do we “rejoice at all times”? Do we have to walk around with a fake smile plastered on our faces? No, of course not.
While joyfulness is similar to happiness, it could be better described as contentment with God’s plan. When we’re content, we’re also at peace with God. Joyfulness means we’ll be content with whatever God sends our way, good or bad. Joyfulness comes from a heart that humbly trusts God and is thankful for anything He sees fit to give or to take away. Joy starts with gratitude.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I recently started reading a book called Hinds’ Feet on High Places. It’s a beautiful allegory of how God saves us and makes us more like Himself. The main character, Much-Afraid, learns many lessons before she arrives at the High Places. The first lesson she learns is Acceptance-with-Joy. Accepting God’s plan for us is essential to having a right relationship with Him. When we truly accept God’s will and thank Him for it, joy will follow.
Only With Jesus
Gratitude is difficult for me. I can say “thank you” all day with my heart still complaining. In truth, I realized I cannot ever have a grateful heart- not without Jesus. I’m often selfish and wake up hoping the day will be to MY liking. I pray for myself and work for myself. At least, that was me before Jesus stepped in. Gratitude is not valued much by the world. We might be thankful for the things we like, but the disposition of thanksgiving isn’t natural. On the other hand, God values gratitude highly and punishes complaining. We can only have grateful hearts if Jesus helps and guides us.
God takes gratitude and complaining seriously. The Israelites were punished by deadly sickness when they complained (Num. 21:6), we are commanded to stand out from the world’s complaining (Phil. 2:14-15), and Jesus often thanked God before performing miracles (feeding the thousands, raising Lazarus from the dead). Since God values gratitude in this way, I am confident He will give His children grateful hearts. We must ask in faith, and God will be faithful to guide and strengthen us.
Gratitude also comes from a heart that knows and trusts God. Whenever I have consistent time with God, I always feel more confident and secure. When I get to know God, I love Him more and see how trustworthy He is. Christianity isn’t just obeying or following rules; it’s a relationship. Following God means you get to know the Creator of the world. And from a heart that knows God comes a heart that trusts Him. And from a heart that trusts Him, we will get a thankful heart.
Let’s pursue joy by pursuing God. Ask God today to help you trust Him and thank Him for everything.
Quarantine isn’t fun, but God has a plan for it all. We can trust Him through it all, thank Him in the midst of it (and for it), and find joy in the middle of the chaos. Will you join me?
How are you learning to trust and thank God during difficult situations?
Suggested: Write Letters After Moving (here’s why!)
Related: 11 Ways to Thrive during Quarantine