It is now past the halfway point of my 100 Artworks of Gratitude Challenge. If you didn’t get a chance to read about that, please check it out.
I wanted to check in way more often than halfway through the process, but now is as good a time as any.
This process has been an interesting one, and I’m not sure it’s achieving what I thought it would achieve in me. But I still am thankful for the public practice or praising God with gratitude.
Some things I noticed along the way:
1. I get very concerned with the image I am creating doing this process, rather than just being earnestly and honestly grateful. Public things like this on social media are really hard for me to do because of this. I start comparing my posts to other people’s posts, or worrying about how they will be perceived and received by the “masses”. This sort of defeats of the purpose of the process entirely– to get me to focus on what I’m thankful for, not what I think I’m lacking.
2. It sometimes feels like a chore. I’m not too concerned with this one. Lot of things that we enjoy end up feeling like chores when we do them everyday for a long time. We still do them, and the feeling or the activity passes eventually.
3. It is hard to express gratitude for certain things. Some things I haven’t wanted to post because I thought it was stupid, or too trivial, or just ugly. This makes it difficult to feel genuine in the process. See first item. These two are kind of the same.
This makes me question the whole idea of publicly sharing one’s heart on the internet. Ironically, since I’m a blogger and writer. But I think it makes me turn inward to explore my own self more than question the social media aspect. What is it about me that wants to impress or compare? Why do I want to display a perfectly pretty post? Why so concerned about public perception?
The truth is, my life is so far from perfect that I cannot even pretend that it is— on Instagram, this blog, twitter, or face-to-face over coffee. Just can’t hide it.
So let me be real with you. I haven’t been good about my time with God. I’ve skipped my devotions, slept through my quiet times, and zoned out during church. I have not done well with the “no spending” goal, and actually probably spent more than I usually do on things I don’t really need. I have been lazy, gotten pissy, and have done some pretty silly things without even thinking twice about it, and all directly contradict the whole point of this practice of mindful gratitude and simplicity.
I realize that this sounds super discouraging. And it may sound like I’m giving up, but hang on just a minuet.
The thing I have realized that I am most grateful for during this 100 ArtWorks of Gratitude exploration, the one thing that has truly proven to be a blessing through all of the posting and failing and falling, the one thing I keep coming back to… is so simple.
It’s that, even though I fail or fall short in nearly everything I strive for– the curse of perfectionism– God is faithful in his provision, love, and understanding because of Jesus Christ.
Any little bit of progress, any slight improvement, any attempt at all, is success in His eyes. It may seem like a failure and it may discourage me, but my Father continues to delight in me despite what I think of myself.
Jesus Christ has made this possible for all of us when He taught us how to live, then became a sacrifice for all the imperfection we have. God is perfect, and His holiness cannot stand imperfection, so when He looks down on our imperfect lives, He sees the blood of Christ covering those who accept the covering, and He can then call us family. This is one of the many ways of explaining The Gospel. I hope you hear it in it’s intended way.
If anything this exercise in gratitude has helped me see God as less of an unreachable deity who stands sternly over us all, evaluating and making judgement calls on every move we make, and more of who He really is: a proud Papa looking lovingly down on the works of art that He has created here on Earth (you and me!), encouraging us and giving us hope as we travel along.
And so today, I hope that no matter where you are at in this process, or even if you aren’t participating in it at all, I hope that you can feel how deeply loved you are and how much God is smiling at you as you seek to know Him. We all do that differently and we all are at different spaces, but I trust that if your attempt is genuine and your heart craves Him, He will undoubtedly answer you in the way you best can hear.
And if we are in Christ, if we have accepted His covering, His offering, His saving, let’s be grateful for that.