Webster defines gratefulness as
- appreciative of benefits received
- expressing gratitude
- affording pleasure or contentment
- pleasing by reason of comfort supplied of discomfort alleviated
My personal favorite is the last one. Gratefulness is discomfort alleviated. It gives the impression that in order to understand gratefulness you must have experienced an initial level of discomfort. Some times it’s not until the removal or application of new pressure that we are able to compare it to how we were previously living. Added pressure is heavy and we wish for the carefree days we didn’t realize were so carefree….OR the removal of pressure can be eyeopening to see that we once lived under such a heavy burden on our heart/mind. When I think of gratefulness, I think of a heart at rest.
The initial definition I mentioned is good news to those of us who feel rather in tune to the discomforts of life or their season. It’s ok to taste discomfort, but I love that gratefulness means we don’t have to live aware of the discomforts we don’t like. I’m learning how to allow my gratefulness for what is in my life to overshadow the discomforts that accompany what isn’t.
Last night in my small group we all wrote down our spiritual goals for this year. We talked through them together and will be using our little list as a way to map out how we’re going to live our daily lives and what choices we make over the next months. It’s also our list of how to pray for each other daily. (Sidenote: if you’re not connected with people you can do this with..pursue it. I’ll talk more about friendship and why it’s a key to success later! )
Have you thought through some spiritual goals you want to reach this year? Like any goals in life there are a few things that can help us take practical and realistic steps to seeing progress in that area. It’s why I’ve always liked writing out goals, I’m not very good at just existing and assuming productivity is going to happen. A list helps me know there is progression in my life. And even if as I wrote about in my last post, the progress is one inch at a time it is still progress!
There’s no need to get ridiculously spiritual and write out a long list. Keep it simple, yet strategic. Remember this is a journey, so don’t try to rush to take care of all things at once.
My spiritual goals this year:
1) I want to find the fulfillment the Lord has for me in this season. My past has often provided so much fulfillment through the relationships in my life. This year I understand I’ll be discovering fulfillment in new ways. I don’t expect my relationships to lack fulfillment, but this year my friendships and myself do and will look different. Nothing stays the same forever. So that means the definition, feeling and look of fulfillment will come in new and different forms this year. It’s bittersweet. I am slowly but surely accepting the letting go and regrounding process that’s currently happening with/without my approval. I know the Lord has a deep sense of fulfillment for me to discover in every season that overrides the realities I don’t currently like in my life or the desires that are still untouched. I also know part of discovering his sources of fulfillment will come from being grateful for what he’s put in my hand…instead of just being aware of what isn’t.
2) I want to understand the power of worship. Leading worship is going to be a very consistent part of my year….more than any other year. I want to really spend time with Jesus writing songs and studying the role of praise and worship throughout scripture. I’m really excited about this one.
I feel pretty confident that at the end of 2013 I will have a lot to report about both of these goals.
What are your spiritual goals?