I’ve had this repetitive thought in my mind lately. It’s a question, really. It shows up every time I say “I’m so blessed” in response to something going well in my life. The question that pops into my mind almost immediately afterward is: Would I still be saying that if that same . . . something . . . DIDN’T go well?
Did I say “I’m so blessed” on the day one of my kids had a seizure? Or on the day my Mom died unexpectedly in a tragic accident?
Would I still say “I’m so blessed” if my house caught on fire?
Would I still say “I’m so blessed” if the test results showed the lump is cancerous?
I’ll be totally honest. No. I didn’t say that sentence when those two real events occurred. And, in all reality, it probably wouldn’t be the first thing out of my mouth if the other hypothetical events ever happen either.
So . . . what’s the secret to being able to say the words “I’m so blessed” no matter what?
I’ve been talking to God about that lately, and then I stumbled upon an answer in a pretty unexpected section of the Bible: the Ten Commandments.
(Stick with me here—it’s not going to go the way you might expect.)
It started with some verses that I read in chapter 5 of Deuteronomy. In this chapter, God reminds the Israelites of his instructions for a holy, healthy life. He walks them through the Ten Commandments as well as a few other really cool concepts. One of the commandments talks about the day of rest (a.k.a. the Sabbath) in detail. God actually explains what the day of rest is, how this rest is a different kind of rest, and why he made such a big deal about commanding us to take this kind of rest.
“Observe the day of rest as a holy day. This is what the Lord your God has commanded you. You have six days to do all your work. The seventh day is the day of rest—a holy day dedicated to the Lord your God. You, your sons, your daughters, your male and female slaves, your oxen, your donkeys—all of your animals—even the foreigners living in your city must never do any work on that day. In this way your male and female slaves can rest as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God used his mighty hand and powerful arm to bring you out of there. This is why the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the day of rest as a holy day” (verses 12-15 GW).
- What is the day of rest? It’s a holy day dedicated to God.
- What makes this kind of rest holy? This is a rest from all earthly pursuits and labels. Instead, we get to reflect on (and rest in) God’s pursuit of us and the only label that matters: his.
- Why do we do this? To remember.
I used to think that God’s command to remember the Sabbath/rest day and keep it holy was just a rule that meant I needed to attend a church service once a week. And for the longest time, I wasn’t really sure why God would make such a big deal about this. What makes THIS qualify for the top ten list of rules for a holy, healthy life?!
But the thing is that God always knew how exhausting this life could be. From day one, he knew that we would experience trouble, trauma, betrayal, anxiety, depression, fear, shame, loss, grief, anger, and more. He knew that our souls would need true rest to continue forward each day with hope.
He knew we wouldn’t always be able to easily say, “I’m so blessed.”
So he commanded us to rest instead of forcing it or faking it. He gave us a time to remember the truth about what makes us blessed regardless of lumps and seizures and fire and death.
His promise that we are forgiven, holy, righteous, redeemed, and his.
No matter what.
So do it. Rest. Set aside time every week to take a holy rest. Spend that time remembering all the moments he showed his incredible power and overwhelming love in your life. “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God used his mighty hand and powerful arm to bring you out of there.”
Know that whenever you are still feeling like a slave . . . whenever you are still needing his mighty hand and powerful arm . . . he’s there and fighting for you. Rest in this as you whisper, “I’m so blessed.”