Kind of like a cruel joke treasure hunt. My car failed emissions and the mechanic did $350 of repairs. My four-year-old Zoe and I had gone from office to office, appointment to appointment, we’d missed lunch, the check engine light was still on, and the last man we talked to behind a counter in a grubby waiting room was telling us to go somewhere else.
I’m a nice person. On a good day. When I’ve had a sandwich.
As the man handed me a print out with the new address of where we were supposed to go, I grunted thanks. Resigned. Resentful. Low blood sugar.
Then I hear a bright little voice behind me tell the man ‘Thank you vewy vewy much!!’ For whatever reason my girl had decided to give this guy her best smile and most enthusiastic thank you – she sparkled and curtsied, twirled and waved. And he stood there bowled over. Finally, he said, ‘You’re welcome,’ and we walked out.
I was proud of her manners, but inside I was thinking she got it wrong. She rolled out a birthday present THANK YOU for an emissions office moment.
On the car ride home, I felt the truth. I got it wrong. The Bible says to be thankful in ALL circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18.) It doesn’t mention auto repairs and bureaucracy in there, but ALL covers that. It has to. This world is a messy place and if we only spend our thankfulness on worthy moments, we miss out on the joy that comes when we treat each moment as worthy.
G.K. Chesterton said the highest form of thought is thanks… and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. Which sounds kind of magical… how come that doesn’t come naturally?
Sit-ups don’t come naturally either. Sometimes the things that are good we just need to do. We practice the things we do best, but somehow we expect thankfulness to just come flowing out of us. It doesn’t work that way.
I’ve decided to treat every moment this week as a ‘vewy vewy much’ moment. The ordinary ones, the annoying ones, the beautiful ones… and the miracle thing is that as I respond with great gratitude no matter what’s going on, my joy grows. I actually mean it.
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Discuss: Things I’m asking as I practice Thankfulness:
When I’m angry, annoyed, tired, hungry – Can I do something right now that lifts my spirit into a place of ‘radical’ gratitude?
When I catch myself viewing a person or circumstance as ‘less than’ – Can I stop right now and submit these thoughts to Jesus? Philippians 2:3 says, ‘…in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.’ (BSB)
When it’s been awhile since I’ve felt joy – Am I seeing what’s in front of me? How can I slow down right now and say thank you?
Pray: Lord, Thank you for your forgiveness! So many times when I complain or feel irritated, I know I am missing the beauty of something you’ve put right in front of me. Change me to have eyes to see these things and a spirit that is peaceful enough to appreciate things. Slow me down when I’m moving too fast and remind me that the quickest way to be close to you is to give thanks. In Jesus Name. Amen.