Come rain or shine, I have always been a person that no matter where I go I always have a good time – I will be that girl laughing or will be making someone laugh when the room is silent. I can be at a wedding or at a funeral and will still feel like that ‘outing’ has added to my life. I have come to realise this is partly because I am very aware of my thoughts and surroundings and understand how it plays a part in my enjoyment or how it may add or take away from my situation – so subsequently, I am always able to be in a constant state of thankfulness. I was having a light-hearted conversation with friends and suddenly my self-aware mode kicked in and felt like I was all of a sudden a fly on the wall. I was watching two people intentionally interact with one another, reach into their word bank in their minds, which has developed through continuous social interaction if at school, at home, with friends or at work. They were able to piece together these words by a formation of letters and make (what may seem to us) legible sentences for the other to do the same thing and respond just as effectively – I just found myself in dumbstruck awe moment at how awesome God is and was just thinking how fascinating is this!? “Isn’t it crazy we speak a language, a formation of words to make sentences, that we can actually understand each other with?” they both just looked at me, we laughed as it was so unrelated to what we were discussing and they called me crazy (and some other exchange of words lol) and with no surprise our original conversation resumed and we moved on.
I realised in that brief but significant ‘fly on the wall’ moment we actually take so much in life for granted. The most basic of thing of breathing, to opening up our mouths to speak, to the ability to communicate what our feelings are in our minds and hearts and to even to live in a country that allows the freedom to express these things are all God-given blessings each day of ur lives. When we are of the world and focus on what the “world” deems as “blessings” we limit our ability to have a heart that is truly full to the brim of thanks for everything as we start practising missing the ‘small’ blessings and in that begin to practice ungratefulness – this is where the issue but also the solution lies as all the issues we have in life flow from the heart (Proverbs 4: 23) so we must learn to guard it from ungratefulness which has the ability to flip a simple outing into an adventure.
See the thing about life is that we live our lives based on what is in our hearts and what it desires. Our heart is the only thing God asks for as it is the place he works best. When we are nice to someone they may say “aww you’ve got such a big heart” or when you aren’t too nice to someone they may assume that those issues also come from the state an ‘ugly’ heart which is in fact true as Proverbs 27: 19 says “As water reflects a man’s face, so does his heart reflect who he is” and as God lives in our hearts so it should reflect him in every way, as should our desires and actions in our walk in this world. With a heart that God dwells in, that person knows and understands that nothing would move in their life if God wasn’t in there, and from the place of that very same understanding, is where our thanks to God should come from – our hearts. Once we start living in this truth and constant praise we should have to offer up to God, we will see a shift in our lives and we will feel a change. We need to challenge ourselves and ask “Do I think everything that happens in my life is by chance or at my own hands?” because let me tell me something, it is not. God does it all and the truth of the matter is you could not have opened your eyes this morning or made a single dime in this world without God’s say so – Ask yourself who is god in your mind, God or yourself and the things that have been made in to idols in this world ie money, education, power? We need to start magnifying God in our eyes and start seeing him for who he truly is which is sovereign and give a thanks back to him that is equal (which we couldn’t even begin to even match with the offering of our lives as living sacrifices but it is something) and it starts with having a heart full of thanks. We need to destroy the level of comfortabilty we adopt whilst living in this world and in its truths that are false which is that we are the orchestraters of our circumstances. We cannot create a good or bad situation in our lives without God’s approval – even the times the enemy starts playing up in our lives, the devil must get permission to do anything (Job 1: 6). Do you know how thankful I am that the enemy can’t run free willy nilly all over this earth without restraint and disrupt God’s will for me? I am thankful! I have taught myself how to be grateful in everything (1 Thessalonians 5: 8) and then for everything that follows subsequently because we know the enemy walks this earth and has been for years so it knows well well how to derail us (Job 1: 7) and without grace given by the love God has for us, I would not be able to expect another blessing to follow.
We need to start wanting to know and teaching ourselves what grace actually is to then actively start living this out. We need to re-understand the grace that exists for us to still even be alive. We need to start being thankful in all situations that happen, from when we wake up till when we close our eyes to sleep each day (and even those two things!) because of the true understanding we have of grace. All we do, have and experience in life is for our benefit and as with a true understanding of grace this allows thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15) and this will be evidenced in your witness, even by your beaming smile you have in a boring outing because you are grateful to even have a chance to be there when so many others don’t make it. None of us should not be living a life of entitlement as we have Christs covering for we know him. How could we possibly live in the fullness of our capabilities that we know we have access to in Christ, if we are entitled children and our hearts are halfheartedly giving him praise when he asked for a full heart? Being able to count your blessings on by one (1 Thessalonians 5: 15) allows us to enjoy every moment as we are living in the fruitfulness of our gratitude to God. You are able to in that ‘outing’ or position you are in life look to your God that you know made it possible and simply say thank you. Immediately you will turn a disappointed heart or any possible feelings of an outing being ‘mediocre’ or ‘ok’ into an adventure as you are seizing your moment. You are acknowledging how blessed you are to be living in the reality of your life which this breaks the barriers and opens the doors in your mind to take the most basic outing and use the desire of your heart to be full of thanks to elevate that moment and flip it into something even better – an adventure.
If we have taught ourselves to take things for granted then we must teach ourselves to be grateful for everything again, even being thankful for the simple finger that is working and you are using to scroll down this page. Our hearts need to be filled with a gratitude like no other as there are blessings you’re not even thinking will be collateral for honouring him when you give him back a heart full of thanks. I lost my oyster card last summer, and I was so distraught as I had cash in it and as I was on the lowest salary I’ve ever been on in my life, so loosing cash was so painful as I’m sure many of you can relate when you’re being so careful with money. My sister often looks at me like I’m mad so I am used to that but she had offered to give me cash when I was in the middle of my tantrum aka mini-breakdown, but this time when she was looking at my stupidity she said “It’s not that deep”. Now we say this a lot to eachother all the time, but almost instantly in that moment it hit me differently. Funny as it is in hindsight, she made me look at myself and in that moment and see all that I had to be grateful for oppose to what I no longer had. I checked myself because I had the power to change my situation. I was all of a sudden started telling God how thankful I am that I’m even alive, that I even could walk back to the station and try find it, that I wasn’t mugged for it, that I even have a sister and one who is even willing to replace it!! The list was endless but ultimately thank you Jesus! If we become so accustom to taking the small little things, to everything in between and then even sometimes the big things in life for granted when God made it happen how then can we truly worship him and reverence with thanks if were not grateful all the time? God has given us a heart of worship towards him to have the ability to give him thanks for everything and in that we learn to apperciate everything. When we worship God we do this “in spirit and truth.” and the truth is he hears us (John 4: 24).
If our mouth are the speakerphone of our hearts and minds, then we need firstly start speaking things in to existence (Mark 11: 22-24) and secondly start living in your confessed truth that God has also seen in your heart and mind (Jeremiah 17: 10) to worship him in full. We should be desiring to worship God in everything and everyday with a heart full of thanks and gratitude for absolutely every situation we face ourselves, which is the mindset we need to adopt when turning a simple outing in to an adventure to have a heart full of thanks for the very experience itself and enjoy every second of it as if it is a gift. Two weeks after I had lost my oyster, I had left work early (from my new God-Given job I was so faithful in waiting for- we thank Jesus!) and a boy rides past me on a bike, then turns around and I’m thinking not today Jesus! He asked me, “Did you loose your oyster?” please believe my mouth probably dropped open – I was in disbelief especially in this day and age where we think people aren’t kind. “Yeah, why?” Now, my oyster had a month travelcard on it but it was my expired uni 18+ one that had my photo on it so it wasn’t crazy he recognised me, but what was crazy is that our paths met again when I was not on my normal hometime schedule for when he even found the oyster. I said no worries about it because I had given thanks to God in that situation, got a new oyster and been already blessed abundantly during this time so I had no care for it or the money (crazy right after my meltdown ha!) he said no and the gave me more cash than I originally had in my oyster card wallet. Can you see God!? Trust me when I say grace and thanks combined do wonders. Give thanks in everything as God hears you and he will honour you – believe me!
Okay so we all know life isn’t always this pleasant to us and we may find ourselves in dry, crustation filled ‘outings’ or circumstances that we have put ourselves in but even in that the bible says give thanks in all things, not for all things (1 Thessalonians 5: 18) As I understand and use what I possess from 2 Timothy 1: 7, I am always able to give thanks because of the love he has given me to glorify him, it gives me the power to overcome any negative or mediocre feelings I have about things and a sound mind in him to enjoy the power I have to appreciate everything in life as he has given it to me! Therefore we have the ability to turn what may just be an outing into an adventure by living in a presence of gratitude always.
I had to challenge myself to think of what tools I am thankful for that help turn a circumstance around which lead to my 5 key principles I consider or ask myself:
- Expectation vs Reality: What are your expectations and what is the actual reality- are you separating the two? Are you expecting red carpet royal treatment from a restaurant that is down a back alley in the heart of the hood? In going out, I am conscious of the fact any expectations I have can not be real and can make a bad situation worse, so I don’t create any to not be disappointed once I face the reality of the circumstance. This way I enjoy every part of my true reality as I haven’t gone ahead of myself and assumed things that had every possibility to not be true. If you have expectations which is totally normal, separate it from your reality so one isn’t at the mercy of the other.
- Who I am surrounded by: I only tend to go out with people that 1) have a similar mentality to me in regards to the expectation vs reality rule and 2) people I can laugh with. If you don’t possess any of the two I wouldn’t even be able to fully enjoy an outing let alone create an adventure. It is important to be surrounded by similar minded people because peoples thoughts and attitudes are infectious. If your being infected with the right energy, that will hopefully drive the both of you to make the most out of any outing as you simply just enjoy being in each other’s company. It’ll make amazing memories that you would want to remember for a lifetime and look back on them with your friends when you’re 50+ and reminisce.
- Money is not the be all and end all: Don’t get caught up into how much you spent to go there and then create expectations off of that. Also don’t let money stop you whilst you’re there. Budgeting is the most effective way to overcome this, cutting your clothes according to your size. If you can’t afford to let any money spent go if it ever came down to it, you shouldn’t be going anywhere. Enjoy with no restraints and seize the moment as if money was never a factor – this world and it’s beauty existed before currencies were ever created, the bible literally illustrates how much adventure is possible!
- Perspective is key: Having a positive mindset is key. To be able to give thanks for the outing comes from a positive mind frame, so you can only imagine what a thankful and positive mindset will do in the moment? You’ll be able to turn a bad situation into a beautiful situation irrespective of the reality of it as you are able to see what you can be thankful for.
- Tomorrow is never promised: Sadly the only thing in life that has been promised is death. Because we forget this traumatic truth we think we are going to get another shot at enjoying another outing in a different location but the truth is that it is never a guarantee so live and give thanks as if it is your last. God gives us our daily bread (Matthew 6: 11) meaning he gives us everything we need to live a life of fullness, joy and peace every single day if we choose to seize it as tomorrow has worries of its own (Matthew 6: 34). You’ll learn to enjoy every single second of your life as you appreciate what you have which is today and not look forward to something that might not come – isn’t that the only way to live?! YOL.. or something like that!
Hope this helps turn any situation you are faced with around and more so helps you create an adventure out of your life oppose just walking through it as if it’s not capable of so much more – in Jesus name!
Till next time – Carpe diem,
Scriptures in order of appearance:
- Proverbs 4: 23
- Proverbs 27: 19
- Job 1: 6-7
- 2 Corinthians 4: 15
- 1 Thessalonians 5: 15
- John 4: 24
- Mark 11: 22-24
- Jeremiah 17: 10
- 1 Thessalonians 5: 18
- 2 Timothy 1: 7
- Matthew 6: 11
- Matthew 6: 34