I CORINTHIANS 13:4
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
I PETER 2:9
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
So, last week was a test for me, but I didn’t know it. I wanted to say thank you to all of you to show how grateful I am for what you do and write and think.
And then you started saying thank you back and this is where I get TERRIBLE. I’ve talked before about how hard it is for me to accept compliments—how hard the “thank you” really is to say without deflecting or diminishing the praise.
Here is the honest truth: I find it easier to be grateful and give thanks for the hard things—those things that “did not kill me,” but did in fact “make me stronger.” I am grateful with a hard guttural emphasis on GRATE. I am grateful in hindsight:
- I am grateful for my family (after years of infertility and fertility treatments).
- I am grateful for my healthy kids (because they have survived weeks and weeks in the NICU and tracheotomies and feeding tubes and seizures and wheelchairs and syndromes).
- I am grateful for underwear (because my obstinate three-year-old is finally potty training.)
This list goes on and on of the things I can now openly say I am grateful for. But the things I find hardest to lift up in thanks are the easy ones—the ones that fell, more or less, into my lap. It feels like boasting:
- Yes, I am thankful for my ability to write, but no I do not want to brag.
- Yes, I am thankful for the house we live in, but no, it’s not as big as some.
- Yes, I am thankful for my husband who loves me so much he can read me like a book, but of course we have our problems.
I like me addendums. They keep me in check. We are trained not to boast. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians says so.
But we are also ordered by Peter to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” We are to be grateful for what God has done in our lives and then talk about it…and not just the stuff we’ve survived, but the stuff we’ve been given.
God wants to hear your “thank yous” for the van’s new tires and the job promotion and the kid doing well in math and the beautiful phrase you’ve just managed to turn. He wants us to share that with each other. Not everything has to be about the things we’ve overcome. It can also be about the things that have come to us. And so:
- I am grateful for the woman who cuts my hair.
- I am grateful for the two days a week my kids are in school.
- I am grateful for my husband’s new job which keeps him closer to home.
- I am grateful for the woman in Sunday school who watches Charlie.
- I am grateful the twins know their ABCs and are smarter than the average bear.
- I am grateful that I am making a killer pumpkin pie and then ordering a complete Thanksgiving meal from Whole Foods because I don’t want to cook.
- I am grateful for Whole Foods.
I think the more I say these, the more I will get better at it. I think it will start to feel natural to say thank you after compliments without filling in the silence with more words. I think if I keep pointing up at God, it will remind me that this life is full of things to be grateful for that I didn’t have to climb a mountain to get. The turkey will be awesome, even if I didn’t have to baste it at 4 a.m. And for that I am grateful.
Sunday Thoughts Link Up!
It’s time for another Sunday Thoughts Link-Up! I know there are many out there with wisdom that could encourage all of us. As long as it’s faith-based, I’d love for you to join up and then read and comment on what others have shared. Please also leave a comment here. Think of this as a Sunday morning community group that comes to you. And grab the button if you like…
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