I love fall. I’ve probably written that statement a lot over the last few years of blogging. But the change of the season always makes me happy, so I can’t help but comment on it. I’ve always loved living in the midwest for that very reason – the changing seasons. I lived in Florida during college, and I missed the weather changes. We had snow flurries one time, and I was giddy.
Something about the cycle of the weather that seems natural and normal. It’s like the sunrise and sunset. It’s predictable–you can count on it.
I’ve just come through reading Judges, and the Israelites were behaving in cycles throughout the book. They would be in sin, God would punish them (often with oppression from an enemy), they would call out to God for deliverance, God would send a judge to rescue them, and the cycle would repeat upon the death of that judge. It would be more frustrating to read these accounts if it weren’t for the fact that we do essentially the same thing. It’s easy to think we’ve got life handled and don’t need God in the times that are good. It’s not until trials or hardships come that we often fall on our knees and turn to God for help.
There are times when I’ve lived my life in a survival cycle, too. I’ve gone through motions, I’ve put one foot in front of another, I’ve done the next thing in front of me. That’s not an enjoyable way to live, but sometimes the survival cycle gets us from one day to the next. But a survival cycle doesn’t fulfill the commandment of 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
I recently read a quote, “The more we express thanks, the more gratitude we feel. The more gratitude we feel, the more we express thanks.” That’s the kind of cycle I want to cultivate in my life. That’s the cycle of Ephesians 5:20: “giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Giving thanks ALWAYS for EVERYTHING. It’s easy to complain, it’s easy to see the things that are wrong with the world, it’s easy to get discouraged by life’s circumstances. Gratitude is harder. But far more valuable, and it’s contagious. If we’re more grateful, our families will be more grateful, our friends will be more grateful, our kids will be more grateful.
I know we’re almost to Thanksgiving. There are a lot of things to be grateful for. Don’t spin your wheels in a sin cycle or a survival cycle, cultivate a thankful cycle instead.