Lately I have loved seeing on Facebook how many people are practicing the gift of thankfulness with their commitment to "100 days of giving thanks". When we really take a moment to look at our lives, so many of the relationships, memories or things that can so easily skip our notice in the busy-ness of life all of a sudden shine out as precious gifts. Things that we take for granted are finally seen as precious treasures. Thanksgiving is such a powerful principle to release joy in our lives. I can't help but smile or giggle when I read many of the comments. It has the incredible ability to encourage, uplift and release honour to those around us. No wonder there are so many incredible passages in the bible encouraging us to give thanks. It lifts our eyes off the heaviness that can so easily weigh us down and re-focuses us on just how kind and good God truly is in our lives by surrounding us with people who love and "get us".
Something that I am truly thankful for is that I can honestly count myself blessed to have many deep and valuable friendships in my life. People who are willing to speak honestly into my life and in my journey as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and most importantly as a beloved child of God. One such friend is my wise friend Mandi. She has the ability to speak practical wisdom that rings in my ears and heart months and years down the line. Which brings me to my post today ...
Near the beginning of the year we were chatting about the link between a) knowing clearly what our personal values are ... and b) what our focus and time is actually being spent on. Do they match up? Now I am more of a "take time out by myself to think things through deeply" kinda gal which is why Mandi is good for me. She challenges me to be more spontaneous and got me to speak out those values on the spot. Oh I could certainly recite a lofty sounding list that would make any mamma proud, but the more I began to ponder over that list, the more I realised how many of those values that I professed to were either very broad sweeping or to be honest .... ummm ... hadn't been practiced or lived out with the same zeal, time or passion as in former years with my blame being centred on the distractions of life buzzing around me. Oh I definitely accept that we have to be mindful of the seasons that we find ourselves in, but all the more reason to keep checking in with where we are at in our hearts and everyday living.
Over the last week, the Lord has reminded me once again about my chat with Mandi. I realise how powerful my choices are every single day. What I am giving the majority of my time and attention to is actually where my values lie. To be honest, I don't like everything that I see. When bad attitudes and irritability rise out of me more frequently than I like, I know it's time to re-focus and adjust the areas in my life that need a heck of lot more time with my beloved Jesus. And oh how He cares so much about the practical values in our lives too. I can profess to having "health" as an important value ... but it's only a true value when I am reaching for a plate of oatmeal crackers with cottage cheese & berries instead of dunking a few biscuits and rusks in sweet tea when no one is looking ;0) Hee hee ... yip ... it just keeps coming back to those powerful moments of choice each day and finding balance and joy in it all. I know that probably like me, many would put "family" at the top of their list too, but when I'm too busy to stop what I'm doing to really listen and laugh or cry with what my daughters are saying ... or put my iPad down and sit on the floor and play cars with my son ... that's when my values really start shinning through.
I'm not writing this post for anyone else but myself. It's my way of stirring myself up again and being accountable to live an authentic life centred in God and the incredible peace and freedom that He brings by walking in the truth. Just taking time out to sit here on my veranda to take stock and make some adjustments to my time-keeping and focus has revived peace and a sense of balance for me today. What a delight to sit in the stillness while I watch the birds splashing in the bird bath and listen to the fountain trickling away. Simple joys. I am thankful.
Now to re-order my list (and possibly have to part with all my choccie stash) ... :0)
Ps - Thanks Mands for simply being the wonderful YOU that you are in my life xxx