We cling to the things we think we can make stay, but until we release our grip - until we find ourselves standing whole on our own without them, those things will never be to us what they should have been in the first place. In order to fully understand the gifts we’ve been given, we have to be able to see them as they are exactly as they are; gifts that don’t belong to us, but that are presented to us. They aren’t given as rewards for good performance or perfection, but simply because we are worthy of gifts. It’s not that we’re deserving of them, but its because our worthiness was predetermined by Christs’s decision to cast His net wide and cast His net far and scoop us up, claiming us as His own.
So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two faced, nothing fickle. He brought us life using the true word, showing us off as the crown of all His creatures. (MSG)
Accordingly, this makes our gifts His gifts; His to give, His to take. Our response should be an unwavering unchanging thank you. A cupped palm, an opened hand - no more white-knuckling or squeezing for dear life, but just release. Release in the face of awareness that our wholeness doesn’t come from these things - our wholeness exists outside of these gifts. Our gratefulness gets to arise whether the gift stays or whether it goes. Our worth is unchanging all the while.
These things, these gifts, are people, moments, experiences, and relationships - these are the colors to our life’s canvas, these are the amazing opportunities we have to see and know all the hues and all the levels of saturation with which our Savior chose to paint our world. These are the mirrors that reflect His light, these are the ways we can experience Him.
Our tendency is to see gifts through the lens of happiness. We assume that because the gift has been given, a new level of happiness is alive to us, but that’s not necessarily the case. Our happiness does not hinge on gifts. We get to experience birthdays and holidays and milsetone markers, but one of the greatest gifts of my life was something that could be described as tragedy. Out of the tragedy came the gift of clarity, freedom, new life and redemption. “Does this make her happy” is hardly the motive from which the gift was given because God’s concern is our unshakeable joy, not our wavering happiness. There is an immovable joy to be found in the knowledge that happiness does not determine our wholeness.
We don’t know redemption until we find ourselves with something to be redeemed. We don’t experience the full realm of our savior’s capability until we experience emptiness, until we experience things that require restoration in the same way that Jesus dying on the cross required resurrection to be fulfilled.
Until we experience things that require redemption and resurrection, we miss the full scope of our ability to know gratefulness regardless of what our gifts look like. Until we can separate our personal happiness from the gifts we’ve been given, we’ll never know the depth of the well that Jesus has poured for us. So when we take our gifts and view them from a lens of deep-rooted joy grown from the prosperity we already have from the fullness of our worth (which is the adoption into righteousness by God’s declaration of our worthiness to him) we give our gifts the ability to color our world with all the fullness they truly have to offer. There is a wealth available to us that comes from lifting open hands to heaven and keeping a song of thanksgiving on our lips.
My new self-assignment is to go through my day listing ten things I’m thankful for. I want my perspective to be as rooted in gratefulness as possible, because I know how caught up I can become in trying to create my own happiness by clinging too tightly to the things I think are mine to cling to. When I hold so tightly, I fail to let God be God and I forget to trust Him, thinking that my own grasp is more powerful than His authority. So thank you, Lord, for this new day. Thank you for the coffee brewing in the pot, the sunshine and sounds of life falling through the open door. Thank you for the rest, thank you for words. Thank you for the ability to grow and become stronger than we have been. Thank you for family and the hearts of my friends. Thank you for how you have colored my world and laid out blessings before me that I may get to experience all the details of your love for me.