Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gratitude

Give thanks in all things.

I have to be honest, I can't give you the full context of that quote.  Not because I don't know where to find it or what comes after, but because I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with it just yet.  It is a wrestling match that is beyond my strength at the moment, but I'm sure that will come later.  For now, I am thinking about this:

Give thanks in all things.

You know, I have to be honest.  I'm really, really glad that it doesn't say to give thanks for all things.  As far as I'm concerned, some things are bad.  Natural disasters are bad.  Tragedy, bad. Sin, bad.  None of those things are beyond redemption.  Many of those things can lead to good things.  Nonetheless, I would just as soon not give thanks for the bad things, it's hard enough sometimes to give thanks in the midst of the bad things.

Singleness, I guess, is not really a bad thing as bad things go.  It's a painful thing, and I think the inherent loneliness of it is a bad thing.  In and of itself, it's rather a neutral thing.  If you are called to it, it can be a good thing with some hard things thrown in.  If you do not feel called to it, then the hard things fall square on top of the fact that you are not where you feel like you should be and it's pretty rough.  On the other hand, I'm not asked to determine whether it is good, bad, or indifferent.  I am only called to give thanks in the midst of it.

You know what started me thinking about this?  A wonderful, amazing friend of mine (whose biggest fault- in my mind- is that she lives hundreds of miles away and I can't hang out with her every day... although, I suppose since I moved, it's really my fault, and maybe she wouldn't really want to see me every day anyway... so glad she knows I love her a creepy amount and won't be surprised that I at least wish for such a thing!!) is helping to write a Bible study for a girls youth group.  She asked me to look it over, and I was happy to, right up until the moment I read it.  Then I wasn't so happy to read it, because it was all about gratitude and giving thanks in all things.  Since I wasn't feeling particularly thankful about much of anything, it was what you might call a well-placed kick in the seat of the pants a wake up call.

Give thanks in all things.

It doesn't mean that I can't still want things to change (today or tomorrow are good for me!).  It doesn't mean that singleness was the only thing that could have allowed these things to happen. (The whole "Thank goodness you were single so things could work out in your life this way" argument.  I don't like where that particular line of thought can end up.  I don't like the idea that a bad thing has to happen in order for a good thing to happen.  I prefer to think that good can come out of either a bad or a good situation.)  Some of these things are directly related to my being single, but not all of them are.  However, since I am single, and these things are parts of my life that I am grateful for, then they still fall under the idea of being thankful in my singleness.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm going to try to go for a list of things that I am grateful for in the last 10 years of being single.  I've posted some before, but I need to remember them again.

5 comments:

  1. I love this- it's so true, and yet no matter how many reminders there are, I have the hardest time REMEMBERING to be thankful for everything.

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  2. This is raw and honest. I am kind of in awe of people like you who have taken your discernment process so seriously. If I had been more strongly rooted in faith and things of God when I was a young adult, I might have had such a different experience in life.

    Even though I see that God's hand has been involved along the way to where my life has ended up, I can't help but believe that He'd wished I'd considered HIS Plan for me a little more than fleetingly at some critical junctures in my life.

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  3. I'm really thinking that we should hike the Grand Canyon around October...I'm planning this far in advance and asking for tall, single, attractive trail guides... ;)

    On a more serious note, you're right. Singleness is neutral...and I'm grateful that through my singleness and break-ups, Jesus has always led me to the cross. Looking forward to your list! :)

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  4. Katie- The Grand Canyon comment wasn't serious? Because I'd totally hike it in October! (And the guides would definitely be a plus... ;)

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  5. I.LOVE.YOU. (a creepy amount). :) Thanks for your help, your honesty, and your creepy love. I couldn't appreciate you more. Except that I probably will for something awesome you do tomorrow or the next day.

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