How to Break the ‘Thankful’ Cliché

Copyright Creationswap. Image by Kevin Carden.

Copyright Creationswap. Image by Kevin Carden.

How many times have I heard the phrase ‘be thankful’?

Approximately 6,359,345,101.

Yes, it is a great philosophy. Yes, it is biblical.  Yes, it’s a wise way to live. But do you want to know why I’ve never tried very hard to apply it?

Because by the time I say, “Thank-you God for saving me, thanks for my family, thanks that I have food and a house…” I feel like I’m three years old, I’m bored, and I don’t see the point of what looks like an exercise in stating the obvious.

I know I take these things for granted. When I was in India, (and that was only a 2 ½ week trip), I was instantly thankful for my Aussie house, food etc. But when I live in Australia every day, it is difficult to sustain excitement over things I’ve always had and am likely to (well, hopefully) always have in the future. The worst part is, God gets lumped in with those things I take for granted.

So how do I practice thankfulness without feeling like a living, breathing cliché?

I think the God part of it could be tied to the idea of ‘longing for God’.

It’s a thought that came up at Bible study on Tuesday. Our group is doing a study on the end times and it mentioned how some Christians long for God’s return so that they can spend forever with Him. And I thought, ‘Huh?’

Sure, I look toward heaven with pleasant anticipation. But it’s mostly for selfish reasons, like how everything will be awesome there. It’s not really because I long to spend time with God. And a few of my Bible study mates said the same thing.

So how do I cultivate a longing for God? I think that would have a big impact on the thankfulness thing, because if I long for God then I’m definitely not taking Him for granted.

So…how do I do it?

This isn’t one of those blog posts with answers. It’s one with a question. I’m asking you.

I have a couple of ideas I plan to try. There are some beautiful Psalms (today’s was Ps 63) that talk about the Psalmist’s desperate desire for God. I’ll read those and meditate on them.

And I’ll put a sticky note on my desk so that I remember God during the day and think to myself, “God, I love being with you and I look forward to being with You forever.”

But the plan doesn’t extend far beyond that.

So what about you? Have you ever thought about this? Do you have any ideas? What do you do to be thankful in your own life? Share in the comments below!

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6 comments

  1. I find that when I truly think about the reason why I want to be thankful to God, which is because it’s a form of worship to him, my thankfulness is infinitely more deeply felt. And that makes me want to be thankful more. Does that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great way to look at it. I’ve been thinking about worship a bit lately. Since I’ve never been much into singing at church (which is what I think of when I hear the word ‘worship’) I just never connected much with the idea. But weirdly enough, my love of pop culture now has me thinking about worship. There are some things I really like, and I buy the products, talk about it with my friends, quote the shows, and just generally the stuff seeps into my life. there’s nothing wrong with that, until I take my enjoyment too far and go from enjoyment to adoration or worship. Sounds weird when you’re talking about something as fickle as pop culture, but I guess it’s just the stuff I’m into.
      I just think it’s something I should be aware of to guard against and not let it become too wrapped up in my identity. And when the alarm bells ring, I thank God for Him instead of a TV show. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Longing for God

    Defining “Longing for God” for me is to become more like Him. As a child I so much wanted to be like Jesus, being the offspring of a church minister, I faced a lot of bulling. After each experience, I would cry out to God, “Please make me more like Jesus so I can answer these bullies and not fall into the traps that they set up for me.” Even as I grew older there were times of wanting to be able to relate Godly principals to the ordinary situations in life.

    Now that I am older I can see how God has worked to bring about a closer relationship with Him. How has He done this? He was walked with me through the wilderness of loneliness, struggle, depression and grief. He sent me support in the form of my mother and her godly walk; she was His mouth piece for many years. No, I didn’t always listen to her but I did hear!

    Even in a very lucky country like Australia, God will always want us to grow closer to Him. Many of us face problems that may not seem to be as great as those overseas but they are still real problems and they are still a teaching tool that God employs to strengthen our bonds to God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    As I turn around and look back over my life’s journey, I can honestly be thankful for the road that God has walked with me down. Would I have chosen this way if God had given me a choice at the beginning? NO WAY!!! But I am thanking Him each day that He knew best and did not leave me even when I cried, yelled, threw tantrums, curled up in depression and generally behaved like a two year old. While I hated the journey at the time I would no longer change the journey as I can see that I have been brought closer to my Father God.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this blog post because I never really thought about being thankful in that way. You know, saying “thank you God for this and that” being so cliche. A great way that I at least try in order to help is exactly what you have said, and it’s meditating on the word, especially the Psalms that talk about a deep desire for the Lord.
    Love this post sis! and Hope you’re doing good!!

    http://www.theradicallove.com

    Like

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