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