July 23, 2014
For four years of elementary school, I was pulled out of class for speech therapy. I am a stutterer with a lisp. Words with the letter “s” were so hard for me to pronounce. “Desks” was a word I had to repeat five times quickly as part of my therapy. If that wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t initiate speech if the first word began with the letter B, D, K, L or R. Because of my stutter, starting a sentence was always hard, but it was just impossible to start talking with certain words. I had to rethink how to begin the sentence with a different word. Once I started speaking, I would talk really fast because that limited my stuttering. If I hesitated, it was like starting all over.
For many people, including me, four words are so hard to 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 can be to say these simple yet powerful words with sincerity to another person. But for some people, they don’t even exist. Saying “thank you” means they have given another person authority, leverage or power. It implies they needed something. And once something has been given to you, you now owe the other person. Now, he or she is “one up” on you.
We’ve all suffered hurts, wounds and letdowns in the past. The automatic, self-protective reaction is to develop defenses that ensure that we don’t get hurt again. Two frequently used defenses are taking control and being independent. The first means we have a plan. The second means we never depend on the plans of others. We know our needs. We know how to meet them 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; or 2) Be thankful that our all-knowing, all-powerful, loving, awesome Father God had a better plan to bring us what is 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 from how you want? Frustration and angst or thankfulness and peace? Whether you say “thank you” to God when you don’t get your way or you have a temper tantrum, it’s your decision, so choose well.
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