So for my social media friends who have been looking at my “52 days” hashtags and have been confused as to what in the world I am talking about, but haven’t wanted to ask, here you go! I am explaining it for you. (You’re welcome).
At church, there was a sermon that was turned into a two week series called 52 Days of Thanks and Praise. Our church attendees were challenged to post pictures, tell other people, and so forth of things we are grateful for with the hashtag “52 days”. There were 52 days until the end of the year when the message was preached, and in Nehemiah 6:15, it took just 52 days to finish a task that had been incomplete for years. Basically, it is a way to finish out the year by being especially focused on giving God praise for all of the blessings that He has given.
A really good point was brought up in this message; a point that has been brought up often before, and to be honest, I have probably needed to hear it every time. “You don’t have to feel it to do it.”
You don’t have to wake up super pumped up to get out of bed and go to work in order to know that you need to do it.
You don’t have to feel like you have little stress weighing down on you to be grateful.
You don’t have to have just received good news in order to be thankful.
You don’t have to be pleased with another person’s actions to show them love.
You don’t have to see God’s plan unfolded before your eyes to praise Him for the works He has done in you.
I would describe myself as a very creative and emotional person, so while I don’t necessarily show it all the time, I can be a bit of an “emotional thinker”. This usually means that on any given day I typically will feel both happy to the point of bursting, and also may take criticism or negative situations very personally. I think I also tend to be better at giving others grace than giving it to myself. This means that sometimes while I am not actually upset or angry with God, so to speak, I am so distracted by thinking about things I can/could do to improve or make things better that I begin to focus more on the progress than the praise.
I think progress is really important, and love the feeling that I am growing in my trust and confidence in God. There are moments though when I get the impression that He is gently trying to tell me “Hey. Slow down, relax. I’ve got this covered. You just sit back and watch it happen, and offer praise and gratitude.”
This series came at such a good time. Thanksgiving is coming up, but typically this holiday is centered on being thankful for the big things: family, friends, health, shelter, food… All wonderful things to be thankful for. But what this series has challenged me to do, even though I am not very good at remembering to take pictures (nor do I have the space on my phone due to the fact that I am a bit obsessed with music), is to focus on small things that can often go unnoticed.
I am grateful that my shower can get really hot.
I am grateful that no one can hear me when I sing in the shower, for that matter.
I am grateful that I have people in my life that I love enough to think about their circumstances throughout the day.
I am grateful that my car is always, without fail (…knock on wood…) able to get me from Point A to Point B.
And so on, and so forth. It has been so, so helpful for me to see people on Instagram and Facebook who have shared their own images of gratitude and thanksgiving during this time when so many are stressed and anxious. I have loved seeing statuses filled with praise, pictures of loved ones and beautiful views and sunsets, and gratitude for whatever God has provided them with.
I am grateful for the testimonies of others (you can read mine here) that have inspired me to share mine more openly and without fear. But most of all I am grateful that, as one of my all time favorite song verses goes, I can have no guilt in life or fear of death.