Today's one word comes from a really awesome person....YEMISI. I believe I met the gorgeous Yemisi first at Teen Camp years ago..She terrified me because she was INSANELY amazing at every sport and I did not want to mess with her on the handball field. But thankfully I got over myself and we became friends. I've had the pleasure of seeing her grow up in our youth group and the day came where she moved to Toronto (sad for us but a win for them!) Ok, enough from me...get ready to be inspired and encouraged from Yemisi!
I heard of the one word concept through Laura and I decided to finally give it a shot this year. My word is ‘thankful’ or ‘thanksgiving’.
Not going to lie, I was sort of disappointed when I landed on this word. I wanted something more exciting like ‘passion’ or ‘adventure’. But as always God knows what’s up and why He placed this word on my heart.
I hail from the beautiful Victoria, BC but I moved to Toronto this past September for school. I miss Vic but Toronto has been quite an amazing adventure to say the least.
I believe I landed on my one word mid-January and didn’t really acknowledge or think much of it until later. March arrived and with it came negative circumstances back home. I was gutted and I started to question God a lot. Questioning turned into complacency and complacency birthed indifference. I was still attending and serving at church but I didn’t care anymore; I didn’t make time for God, I didn’t care about school and I found myself in a rut.
I basically stayed in this place until the end of March, when we had a guest speaker at church. Their sermon was entitled “Let it Go”…how fitting. One thing that stuck out to me from the sermon was this, “faith is the belief, trust is the commitment.” I still believed that God existed but I wasn’t trusting Him. To stay committed and connected I had to trust Him, no matter the circumstance. That night felt like a breakthrough; from then on I worked at putting my life entirely in God’s hands.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I believe thanksgiving is an essential component of prayer because it realigns the perspective of our heart and mind. When we are being thankful, our eyes are opened to God’s blessings and the tunnel vision that often comes with our problems diminishes. In our times of trouble we can be reminded that God loves us, is still for us and at work in and around us.
The Message says: “Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.”
I think that speaks for itself.
Now that I wasn’t trying to carry the whole world on my shoulders, I was free for God to cultivate other aspects of my faith. He began to develop a thankful heart within me, and that began with praise.
Psalm 100 (NIV)
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
To enter his gates with thanksgiving is a conscious decision, it is an attitude we must continuously choose again and again. As God realigned my perspective I saw that I had many things to be thankful for: loving parents that allowed me to leave the nest and a family that has supported me through everything, support from my friends and Glad Tidings church family back home, new amazing friends that I could have never dreamed of, and a home at Vantage Church in Toronto.
Being thankful in times of trouble is hard enough, but I find that I’m guilty of not being thankful when things are going well. I was convicted of this this month and so I came up with an exercise. Every morning I go to a notebook and write 5 things I’m thankful for that day. I think this is only a stepping stone but by doing this my mindset for the day is shifted to gratefulness and everything I do flows from there. And if there ever is a day where I feel that there is nothing to be thankful for I will always have this: A God that loves me and carries me through it all, the good and the bad.