I really love flying. I was on a flight home the other night, gazing out of the window at the beautiful lights twinkling below me, thinking about how cool it is that we can be in two different states/countries in a matter of hours. Then, I started thinking about road trips and how I may actually love them more. It probably goes back to my childhood. We took a ton of road trips.
One road trip that stands out was when we drove from Georgia to California. We were actually moving to California, so we had a ton of stuff in the car. I was only 7, but I remember the trip vividly. We took scenic routes and made stops at the coolest places like the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest. There were grumpy times, of course, and little arguments here and there, but those are small bumps compared to the incredible experience.
Process … or Journey?
I’ve been thinking a lot about process lately. Raise your hand if you hate that word. Process absolutely sucks. It’s long. It’s painful. It’s frustrating. But we can all agree that it is needed. I’m going to replace the word process with the word journey, because the reality is, process never ends. Once we finish one thing, another one begins. So maybe journey is a better all-encompassing word. Sometimes our journey includes a quick plane ride, and other times it calls for a long road trip. Either way, we can’t rush it. Either way, we have to trust God.
I moved to Florida over a year ago because God asked me to. I moved in complete faith without much of a plan, because my plan wasn’t working out. When I got here, I thought it would be easy because the process of getting here was so hard. Boy, was I wrong. It got even harder. I was so frustrated and annoyed at God, but He convicted my heart to shift. I quickly realized I was so focused on the journey that I lost sight of Him. My heart was full of complaints instead of praise, and I was completely overlooking what He was doing.
I prayed a simple prayer: Jesus I don’t want to wish this season away. I want to find the beauty in the everyday. Help me to see You at work.
And you know what? He did just that. He opened my eyes to the little things He was doing. I turned my complaint list into my thankful list. I began to praise Him for the for the victories I couldn’t yet see. I was like David in Psalms, commanding my soul to rejoice in the Lord.
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
I’ve come to learn that we are ever-changing, and things around us change just the same, but our God remains the same. He calls us to Him in this journey, and we can either run full-force with Him or push Him away. We can either enjoy the journey alongside Him or miss out entirely on the incredible things He’s doing.
Cultivating a Thankful Heart
It’s easier said than done, I know, but a thankful heart can be developed. Let’s try it. Stop what you’re doing right now, this very moment. Take a pause and say, “Thank You, Jesus” aloud. A sweetness is wrapped up snugly in that phrase. Power is released when your mouth brings forth praise like that.
When you begin to see Jesus in the little things, your heart begins to shift. Soon thankfulness becomes a way of life rather than a mere afterthought. It becomes your very identity. Little praise parties throughout the day keep the enemy confused. Giving God glory for the little things keeps our hearts in check.
The journey doesn’t have to suck. In fact it can be incredibly beautiful. When you submit to it, you find so much treasure. By allowing God to lead you through it, step by step, you begin to see how each hour holds something beautiful, even among the hardship. You begin to cultivate a thankful heart that magnifies God in the midst of pain. You begin to exhale worship in every situation you face.
Friend, whether you find yourself on a plane in this season or a long drive through the desert, choose to celebrate the journey and let God do His thing. Don’t try to rush it or keep wishing it away. Let God show you cool stops and refresh you in this journey. You will be able to look back one day and, although the bumps were real and painful at the time, they will be overlooked because of the beauty of the King and all He did along the way.