Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
When have you felt the most alive? Maybe you can still remember a moment that is frozen in time and feels like it was just yesterday. Many of us remember moments around when we graduate, are born again, get married, have a child, celebrate with friends, or experience the death of a loved one. Some of these things are planned, and some catch us by surprise. The moments we remember that are most meaningful to us are usually tied to a strong emotion such as extreme joy, fear, sadness, or even peace. How do these moments shape your life?
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14
One big day for us we may not remember is the day we were born. Just 5 days ago, I had the opportunity to welcome a new person into the world, as my wife gave birth to our daughter. While she was not new to us, as we had talked to her and prayed for her several months prior, she is now a much greater responsibility and joy to interact with each day. Holding her for the first time in my hands brought up thoughts and emotions that I had never experienced before. A new life is definitely a life changer. It also made me jump down the road 5, 20, or 40 years to what the future might hold for this little girl, as I asked God to look after her and bless her in ways that I would not be able to do. I asked Him to use me in whatever way would bring about His will for her. It humbles me to think of what lies ahead, all expectations aside. This was a moment for me.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
People can spend their whole lives chasing experiences, trying to make it from one thrill to the next to fill the emptiness in between, and in doing so miss much of the full experience of life that God offers us. My greatest thrill during my failed attempts to surf were not in catching a big wave, but just in lying on the board and taking in the world all around me as I moved with the waves. A term used fairly loosely today is the word ‘mindfulness’, which means an awareness of something, or oneself, and is often tied to practices like meditation. A similar, but different, take on this is a focus not on oneself, but others, and notably on God, which Brother Lawrence outlines in ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’. You can experience God’s presence with you not just in the peaks of life, but in the valleys and day-to-day routines as well. Can a life have significance without acknowledgement or interaction with God? Have you visited with God today?
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
While it is good to celebrate unique experiences and milestones in life, we also realize that life is more than just these things. One feeling that most fills my heart during these times is gratitude – an appreciation of what God has done for me, and others, in any given moment. One speaker termed this ‘appreciation love’. When we regularly, and sincerely, give thanks to God for all things in life, we live life with a greater awareness for what He has done and is actively doing in our lives and the world around us. An attitude of gratitude helps us be more aware of opportunities to share with others, the love that God has shown to us.
Yours in Christ,