Thank you, God!
Picture this: July 2009. The economy isn’t so great, there’s a heat wave in my town, my apartment lease is ending in less than two weeks, and I have no backup plan. Oh! Did I mention? I decide to leave my job.
Did I feel confused, crazy, and messed up inside? You bet. I mean, my job was pretty awesome. I’d even gotten a promotion; I just wasn’t excited to leap out of bed for it anymore. But it was more than that. I was feeling a divine nudge to move forward.
People asked me about my next steps. I would make something up or smile and nod. Honestly? I had no idea. I just knew I needed a change.
In the days and months that followed, I felt like I was living in a cave of a me-centered world–swirling in doubt and fearful questioning. Through it all, though, this Bible verse stood out, a sure beacon of comfort:
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” 1
From my perspective, it felt like I was being punished for leaving life as I knew it. Often I didn’t know where my next meal would come from, or where I would live one week to the next. In actuality? I wasn’t being punished at all. I was being blessed
by God. I was learning to trust God and Her specific and loving care for me. To listen for Her guidance and expect answers—just as the Bible verse promised. To be willing not to scramble around trying to make my life happen, or especially to make it perfect.
What kept me sane? Gratitude. Seriously! I kept a gratitude journal and wrote in it every day for a year. At first, this was just part of the whole “in all thy ways acknowledge him” track I was on. Gratitude was a reminder that God was there—even on the bad days.
But slowly, something changed. Gratitude became a mindset, a lens, an expectation, a way of life. I found I was actually living gratitude: thanking God, not just in my journal, but silently in my heart. Moment by moment, step by step. I started looking for and expecting good for myself and others. (God’s good is never one-sided!) It wasn’t always easy. But when I was tempted to complain or feel sorry for myself, I
told God thank you in my heart.
Nothing was too insignificant to acknowledge. It all mattered: from the tiny bits, like a car stopping to let me cross a busy street, to the big stuff, like a friend who let me rent a room from her at a price I could afford. Other friends started giving me small jobs like cooking, cleaning, childcare, or pet sitting. You might read that and think, “Well, it’s a start.” But it was more than that. I was discovering that I am not defined by a job, paycheck, relationship, my past. I was gaining a conviction that God’s plan for everyone is only good, and if I was turned down for a job that meant it was for someone else and an even better job was out there for me. And I was learning that trusting God’s plan for me meant trusting Her with every single detail of my life.
I guess I’d say that gratitude didn’t change my life; it opened my eyes to “real life.” Not a life that I had to make myself, or that conformed to certain markers of success, as dictated by the rest of the world. But “real life” as in the unique, needed, joyful, unbeatable life God has given each of us to live. Looking back at where I was in 2009 compared to where I am today, I know I wouldn’t trade any of those trials or triumphs for anything.
Thank you, God.
- Prov. 3:5, 6 ↩
Topics: Gratitude, Supply, Thanksgiving | Tags: career path, finances, gratitude journal, unemployed