Doesn’t that sound so nice and cheery? Fuzzy bumblebees and friendly, blooming daffodils. However, the day I noticed them was anything but nice and cheery.
I have written before about a practice I started years ago after reading Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts.” Every day I try to write down at least one thing I am grateful for. Believe me, some days are easier than others to find things I am thankful for.
Isn’t it interesting how our circumstances can cloud our vision? On good days when things are going how I like them too, I can easily see God’s gifts to me and all the many blessings I have. But on the days when things are not going how I would like, my vision narrows and so does my gratitude.
So back to the bumblebees and daffodils. On that day I had deliberately put my giant list of to-dos aside and gone outside for a minute just to prune back my mint plant. My mind was still occupied with stress and worry though, even as the sun warmed my shoulders. Then I heard a humming and saw a fuzzy, round bumblebee land on the brightly blooming daffodils for a drink.
Just that simple moment brought my attention away from the stress and allowed gratitude to well up. Jesus was so good to design beautiful things for us to enjoy in nature, to replenish our souls when we are weary. I was able to go back to my tasks feeling lighter.
A friend of mine was talking about journals she had found of her mother’s that sounded a lot like my grateful lists. At first my friend could not understand why sometimes her mother would write something so simple as, “flowers,” but then as she herself went through some difficult times in her own life she began to understand. Sometimes life can be so hard that just to find one simple thing to be thankful for can feel almost impossible. But as the sign I saw in the craft store says, there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.
None of this is meant to produce guilt. God has designed the practice of gratitude for our good, not as a way to earn salvation or for us to be falsely cheerful. He knows that when we do take the time to be deliberately grateful, it expands our soul. It turns our eyes from our problems or difficulties to the One who holds all of it in His hands.
So I would encourage you today to find something you can be thankful for, even if it’s as simple as a bumblebee. You might be surprised to find that that one little step has the power to turn your whole day around.
“Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O Lord, for it is good.” Psalm 54:6