John* felt all bound up inside. "I feel sort of…well, ...like something is missing. Like I am locked up in a prison cell in my soul and something is slowly dying inside me." John knew he appeared successful on the outside, like the type of guy who had everything together. He was a highly paid professional educator teaching at a Top 20 university, admired and respected by students and faculty alike. However, it was a different story on the inside.
John gave himself about 6 months to "figure things out." He didn’t know what he would do, but he knew it would be something drastic.
One day, in the faculty lounge, he heard another professor utter a phrase that brought a glimmer of hope to his increasingly constricted heart:
“Gratitude seems to unlock things in your soul.”
"How so?” John almost blurted out before he realized that may be awkward. He didn’t want anyone to know what his feelings inside were, and besides; he had no clue who this professor was. John noted the professor who was speaking and made a mental note to track this guy down and ask the question that was nagging him.
The meeting with the other professor came later and the answers John got surprised him. First, gratitude usually involves hearing from a source above yourself. Gratitude acknowledges the fact that someone gave you something. If you are the ultimate source of all things, it is hard to have gratitude, but if someone greater than you gave you something, you experience gratitude.
Once you realize you are somehow dependent on a source greater than yourself, and this greater thing has given you something can be grateful for, and you 'bend the knee' and thank them, something dislodges inside you. Usually what gushes out is first respect, then emotion, then utter joy.
There is a very similar story about a man named Nehemiah from ancient Israel. The people in ancient Jerusalem were on their own with no connection to God. It had been a long time since they factored God into their lives and they lived in a bleak and discouraging rut. Suddenly a copy their Scriptures showed up. They actually got to hear God's word for the first time in decades. This was the 'someone who was greater than they were' part. And, as the story unfolds, this 'someone greater' had given them some seriously great gifts.
Their reaction? They stood up, then they bowed in worship, then they started weeping. Gratitude had unlocked a reservoir inside them and all sorts of things were released. The end of the story is that a great party erupted…and this party is still celebrated in Israel to this day.
Is your heart overflowing with gratitude? Or are you feeling a bit trapped on the inside as you face the new year? Try Nehemiah’s approach. Then watch what your soul does--what things that are unlocked that have been jammed up for a long time, decades even. John did. And his story in gratitude is just beginning.
AKOTA has the joy of serving families at the start of the new year. This year is a year of making great memories. If your family has a need for care of a loved one, but the burden of the care is draining you dry, please let us serve you. We would be forever grateful and you can make 2019 into a year of great memories!
*real name not given