The Art of Gratitude: Redefining "Blessing"
I'm not great at being grateful. I try not to complain, yet I find myself focusing on circumstances I'd like to see improve. Work things, life things, family things, health things, financial things, you name it. And if I'm not careful, when I sit down to pray, I end up with a laundry list of "blessing" demands.
"Dear God," I start. "Please bless this and that and the other thing. Fix Y. Provide X and heal Z. And while you're at it, can you clean up W? Tweak V? And change the oil in T? That would all be great. Thanks God! You're great. And, if you have any questions about any of these, I'll be right here… waiting. For you to give me stuff. Amen."
Let's be clear on this. God is a gracious and merciful God. He loves us with the love of a perfect Father. He wants to provide for our needs and speak to us in our crises. I believe this to my core. But I wonder if I need to make a critical pivot in my approach towards God. Rather than continually pressing God for blessings, maybe it's time for me to start acting like I'm already blessed. Because I am.
There's a list of family records in the book of 1 Chronicles with a little gem tucked in the middle. Chapter 25 is rattling off the many sons of a guy named Obed-Edom. At the end, I read this “Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh and Peullethai the eighth. (For God had blessed Obed-Edom.)” (1 Chronicles 26:5)
Why did Obed-Edom have a ton of sons? Because God had blessed him. Were there days Ammiel was beating on Issachar? And ones where Peullethai, for the life of him, couldn't figure out how to clean his room? Was his family life spotless and wrinkle-free? Nope. But Obed-Edom could zoom out and say "In the midst of the madness, I see the gift. Despite the chaos, I realize this moment in my life is a treasure."
Sure, there are things we'd all like to see changed in our lives. But what if we switched our name into the verse? What if I started believing (daily) that "God had blessed Steve Norman?" Because that is a theologically true statement. He's blessed me with: incredible family, true friends, food for today, mercy for yesterday, wisdom for today and hope for tomorrow. If that was all He gave, it would be more than enough, but of course this is only the first part of a long list of ways God has been faithful.
If you keep holding out for some future miracle, you may be overlooking the gifts you've already been given. Keep praying for that breakthrough, but don't believe that you're not already blessed. You are.