“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22
I have long been a believer in gratitude. Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year, I’ve kept a daily gratitude journal the past three years, and I love sending cards to friends near and far just to thank them for being in my life.
I must admit, though, that sometimes this gratitude remains surface level. Sometimes I write in my journal just because I think I should be grateful for something, anything. While I believe there truly is always something to be grateful for, it’s the disconnect between my heart and my mind that has been tripping me up lately. While my mind knows the truth that God is good and He has not stopped providing for me in unimaginable ways, my heart doesn’t fully feel it. If I’m being really honest, I think my heart has become apathetic.
I’ve realized that the words of Proverbs 17:22 have become true of me and I’m not referring to the joyful part. My spirit feels crushed and my bones feel dry and fighting for joy seems nearly impossible.
But I’ve been here before. A crushed spirit is nothing new to me, and I’m sure it’s not new to you either. When my family unexpectedly had to bury my cousin 5 years ago, when I graduated from college only to move straight back home and work in retail for 3 years, or when I faced rejection from some of the people closest to me–these moments could have knocked me out for good. My spirit was crushed then and I know it will be crushed again because we live in a broken world.
But just when all hope seems lost, the Spirit reminds me that God has already overcome. I remember that this world is not my home and there will always be tears on this side of Heaven, but I also know that Jesus came and He is coming again. And so, even with only the faith of a mustard seed, I begin to hope again. One moment at a time, I remember that God is greater. No matter how this life tries to bring me down, I can choose to plant my feet firmly in the hope of my God. The One who died so that I might live, the One who created me for good works and knows the plans He has for me, the One who has given me a beautiful, everlasting inheritance – that’s the God I get to choose to hope in, every moment of every day. The truth of who God is trumps my frail feelings every time, and suddenly, there is goodness all around.
While this earth may not be perfect, I have a choice – I will either look for God or I will not. And let me tell you that where you look for God, you will most certainly find Him. “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:13-14). Isn’t it funny that as soon as you choose to look up, He is there? In the text from a friend 3 time zones away or in the pinkest sunset on the drive home, or in the moments that seem full of sorrow, God is there, even still. In the death and the waiting and the uncertainty, God has shown me that He is faithful and He is good. And as soon as I begin to see Him in the midst of the hardness, my heart softens and I am overcome with gratitude for His grace and goodness.
With this being the month of Thanksgiving, I am challenging myself to look up and see the Lord in each day. And I hope you’ll join me. Even in the mess and the chaos of daily life, may we choose to declare His goodness in the land of the living. May we not let our lives be marked by apathy, but instead be a people that chooses to praise the Lord in all things. Tomorrow, let us wake up and give thanks, and the same thing the next day, and the next. Because whatever each day holds, we can choose to rejoice in the hope of promises not yet fulfilled, and praise our God for what He has already done and for what is yet to come. He has been faithful before, and we know He will be faithful again.
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is GOOD and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4 – 5
Written by Kristen Schryver
Download the November conversation cards – we have a set for people just getting to know God and a set for people who want to grow in their relationship with God.