(This may not be the first time you’ve seen this post. But I’m certain that a re-reading of it won’t be harmful to your health. It may in fact be beneficial to your heart health.)
Thankful. Grateful. Blessed.
Everywhere I look I see adorable sweatshirts (and tee shirts for those of us here in the South) sporting that little trio. But honestly, seeing them perched together has sent me straight to Webster’s on more than one occasion. Why? Because I don’t readily see the difference between the first two of the three. After giving it too much time, running down word-nerd rabbit holes, I issued grace to the makers of said shirts and called it a day. Well. Sort of.
It’s easy for me to distract myself with lesser things.
Reading the trio out loud, its rhythm felt right. Well-scripted with a cadence that marched right off the tongue. But again I scratched my head. Wouldn’t the order have been more accurate if blessed had been placed first? After all, we are thankful and grateful for our blessings. Right?
Yes. We are blessed in many ways, with many things. We are grateful and we feel thankful. And hopefully, we are careful to express this gratitude to whomever is deserving. God. Family. Friends. Giving thanks for a thousand little things. (I’m still on my journey to a thousand little things. Thank you, Ann Voskamp.)
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His faithfulness is everlasting.,1 CHRONICLES 16:34
But in the middle of my musings a light illuminated my heart. God’s Spirit shined down: Give thanks to Me. Before.
Before the good test results are confirmed. Before the prodigal child comes home. Before your bank account seems sufficient.
In my wanting. In my yearning. In my needing. I must learn to give thanks for all that I long for, but have not seen to be true. Because I must trust that God has my best interest at heart. And, no. I have no mastery of this skill. I am still practicing.
And then, there is this little nugget.
We are not necessarily doubting that God will do what’s best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.C. S. Lewis, THE PROBLEM WITH PAIN
Whether His best is hard. Or heavy. Or light. His best is always best. And for that, a whole-hearted expression of thanksgiving is due. Before. Even if…not.
This Thanksgiving season, when it’s all the rage to be grateful and thankful because we are blessed, let us do just that. Let’s be thankful out loud. With our words and our actions.
But for a joy that runs deep. For a peace that rests heavily upon us. And for a faith that explodes from within, practice giving thanks for things unseen. Unknown. Unrealized.
That little tee shirt had it right after all.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is [d]near. 6 Do not [e]be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all [f]comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.PHILIPPIANS 4:4-7