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Published on November 27th, 2013 | by Nathaniel

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Thankfulness: Value Relationships & Experiences

what_are_you_thankful_for

Posturing a heart of thankfulness isn’t always easy, especially when you’re in the midst of a storm. How are we supposed to thank God when we go through difficult seasons? When we’re in the middle of a battle that has us questioning if God even exists? Are we supposed to thank God for the pain that we experience?

These questions and many like them have flooded my mind at some point this year. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that for the entirety of this year, I’ve been working to overcome a chronic disease. And in my process of overcoming, oscillating tides of thankfulness, anger, bitterness, and joy have come and gone. But as I sit and reflect upon this season, I see God’s hand through the thick of the fog, leading and reassuring. And in this reflection, I gaze in thankfulness because I see the value of what God has taught me- relationships and experiences are the most important assets to mankind.

relationship

Relationships:

In the age we live, it’s too easy to devalue the significance of relationships. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of wanting to get our “needs” met that we become self-centered, self-gratifying, and self-loathing. This year, I’m thankful because God taught me how important relationships are. Being able to fellowship with someone else is a gift. Experiencing companionship is a gift.

I live in my own apartment and don’t get me wrong, I dig my space but there’s something beautiful about being surrounded by community. When we’re isolated or choose to isolate ourselves, the impacts of our God-given gifts are minimized and self-indulgence becomes inevitable. In order to truly experience the life of sacrifice that God has called us to, we need to experience the relationships with those around us.

Ephesians 4:2-3 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

experience

Experiences:

God intended for our lives to be an adventure. He intended for our lives to be textured into stories of epic proportions. Read the accounts of Joseph or the chronicle the hardships of Paul and you’ll see that God’s intention for our lives isn’t for us to achieve the highest level of comfort. His desire isn’t that we get our $500,000 condo and our S550. Sure, He wants to and intends to bless us but sometimes those blessings come in the form of something that’s more intrinsic. I’m thankful that in this season, God has showed me that experiences will always out-value whatever level of comfort we are striving to achieve.

I believe that God communicates in the most intimate of ways when we experience the realities that come with human existence. I don’t believe that God wants us to hurt but even in the most painful of circumstances, God can breathe truth and revelations into our spirits. Even in the midst of temporary pain, we can strive to be thankful because God’s name is and will be glorified.  

Romans 5:3 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.”

What are you most thankful for this year?

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