June 12, 2012
During 4 years of elementary school I was pulled out of class for speech therapy. I am a stutterer and have a lisp. Certain words with the letter “s” were so hard for me to pronounce. “Desks” was a word I had to repeat 5 times quickly as part of my therapy. If that wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t start speaking if the first letter of a word was a b, d, l, or r. Because of my stutter, certain words took a long time to get out and others were just impossible to say. So I had to rethink the sentence to start with a different letter. Once I started speaking, I would talk really fast because that limited my stuttering.
For many people there are four words that are hard say, not because of a speech impediment, but because of a heart impediment: “I’m sorry” and “Thank you.” It’s amazing how painful it is to sound out these words with sincerity to another person. They are simple yet pretty powerful words. But for some people, they don’t even exist. You see, saying “Thank you” gives the other person authority, leverage, or power in your life. It implies you need something. And once that it’s been given to you, you owe another person. Now he or she is one up on you.
We’ve all suffered hurts, wounds, and letdowns in the past. The reflexive, self-protective, self-healing reaction is to develop defenses to ensure we don’t get hurt again. Two of our defenses are taking control and being independent. The first means we have a plan. The second means we never depend on other people’s plans. We know our needs and how to meet them way better than anyone else could. So how dare God have plans different from ours?
When our plans, strategies, or agendas don’t play out, we have two choices. 1. Be mad, anxious, fearful, hurt, frustrated, discontented, upset, frantic, or overwhelmed that we didn’t get what we wanted and thought was best for us; 2. Be thankful that our all-knowing, all-powerful, loving, awesome Father God had a better plan to do what is truly best for our growth and fulfillment. Thankfulness is not our natural me-centered response, so it’s much more difficult to summon up. But it really is a much healthier response. It allows you to improve your relationship with GOD, with others, and even with yourself.
Try thanking God regularly throughout your day. Each time you thank Him, You are acknowledging that He is your Lord and your all-knowing Provider.
Today, when events don’t go your way, STOP! Thank God. When you pray with thanksgiving during difficult times you are truly acting like a child of God. When you find it hard to be thankful, stop and remember who your Lord really is: the Author of your life and your faith. So what will you choose today when life goes differently than you want … frustration and angst, or thankfulness and peace? As always, your response is your decision, so choose well. It’s easier than you think … try it today.
Dear Father God, I know I’m supposed to give thanks in all circumstances. But I confess to You that sometimes my prayers are hollow. I can say them without feeling thankful at all … especially during difficult times. I know, my Lord, that I am totally dependent on You for everything … even my next breath. I know that all good things come from You, Lord. I thank You today in the midst of my struggles. And when I thank You, I receive with thankfulness Your Joy and Peace. All glory to You, my Lord. I pray this in the name the One who was always thankful and accepted His circumstances, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:28
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17