Day 1: Sometimes, things just happen. We don’t choose them. We can’t change them. We just find ourselves in a situation that is less than ideal and often downright discouraging. What do we do in response? If we’re honest, we can often times respond in less than God-honoring ways. We can start the ‘who done it’ blame game. We can complain, "Woe is me" and fall into the victim mentality. We can become bitter and withdrawn. Think about a challenging situation in the last week or two. How did you respond? Is this response a typical pattern for you? Did your response bring you closer towards God or further away? If you turned further away, what beliefs do you have about the character of God that keep you distant? If you turned towards Him, how has this difficult situation deepened your trust in Him? Can you honestly say, “I’m in the middle of a difficult situation, yet I will still praise God.”
Day 2: When have you carried around pain, frustration or anger and you desperately wanted the situation to change? As the desperation took over, YOU began to take over. You took control by coming up with your own solution to fix the problem. Can you relate to the story of Leah? Maybe there was a person (maybe a family member) who you’ve felt rejection from and you’ve tried to please them with different behaviors, witty conversation, gift giving, or other methods to please. The never-ending madness of "maybe this time", only to feel rejected again. In the message on Sunday, Leah fell into the trap of using things (in this case her children) to try over and over to fill a void. Like Leah, can you identify a pattern of behavior you use to fill a void?
Day 3: You’re enough. You are loved. You are worthy. You are valued. You have been equipped with all you need. God is for you! Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Do you believe this? Or are you currently striving to fill a void? Do you think Jesus can truly fill this void? Take several quiet moments to get honest with God and ask Him if you are holding onto something that you are getting your value from. What is that carrot dangling just out of reach that you keeps striving for more? Write it down or write a word on your hand. Carry it with you. Ask God for a person or a time to release it.
Day 4: He’s enough. Jesus is sufficient. Think of it. Jesus is greater than that one thing you want most in the world. Does that make sense in your mind? Does it make sense in your heart? Jesus can satisfy our deepest needs and desires. If we come to terms with that, we can feel peace and gratitude. Think about a time you experienced the provision and preparation of God when you have been in the middle of crisis and struggle. You tasted this peace and thanked Jesus. Write down or offer a prayer to God for how He has satisfied you in the midst of past struggles.
Day 5: Recently a small group challenged each other to share reasons they are grateful daily. This daily practice is an opportunity to lead the group members into becoming people that are more grateful. This action of recognizing goodness in their lives and sharing it aloud with another will change them. There is power in sharing with someone. You can start with a gratitude journal then move from just a quiet, personal declaration of gratitude to actively articulating to others. If you’re married, share these thoughts of gratitude with your spouse. Share with a friend. Find someone who will commit to sharing daily examples of gratitude. Communicate gratitude directly to the people who you are grateful for. Notice how expressing gratitude effects the rest of your day.