Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gift List

Last night 75% of us sat down to watch a movie. As I sat on the couch next to my husband with a coffee cup in hand, I offered a word of thanks to the sweet friend that not only got me the best travel mug ever for my birthday, but also these amazing instant coffee packs so that I don't have to make a full pot at the end of the day to fill my cup. (Actually, I only fill the cup 2/3 of the way because I don't need 30 ounces at a time. #ILikeBigCupsAndICannotLie

What's interesting in retrospect, is that sitting down with the cup and its contents was enough to make me remember who made it possible. Enough to offer thanks-giving in that moment because it was appreciated. What I can't help but wonder is why that's so hard for me to do in other areas.

Ann Voskamp continually writes about soul-amnesia in her books. The idea is that we consistently forget how good God is, particuarly in the less than preferred circumstances we might come to face. As she shares, what we should be doing is modeling Jesus at the Last Supper, taking the bread in hand, look to heaven, give thanks for it, break it, and give it away. Or in our difficult situations, stop, look to heaven, thank God for a moment to know Him, His grace/mercy/compassion/strength better, break it, and give those same things (grace/mercy/compassion/strength) to others through it. The example she used to day was the mundane task of laundry. Sure we could gripe about it or thank God for the arms, legs, and bodies that fill the clothes that got dirty.

Now, of course the human tendency is to struggle with this more in the difficult because it's hard to be thanful for something that is messing up your happy little world. What's even more frightening is that in starting the One Thousdand Gifts devotional that has lined pages in the back to write down the one thousand gifts I have been receiving day after day, I struggle with coming up with what they are. So, I can easily give thanks for a great mug and coffee, but I struggle with listing what God has done at the end of the day.

My guess is that for most of us it's because we take a lot of things for granted, or only remember the big things that made life better. Why isn't that we don't remember the arms that carried the laundry to the wash and the shoulders that were able to hack folding it? Why do we not remember the vehicle that got us to the store and the money that was in the bank to buy the groceries? Why don't we stop to be thankful for the working internet that allows us to post day after day on a blog hoping to encourage others as their working internet allows them to read with eyes that God gave and a teacher helped to train?

Giving thanks is not for the faint of heart. If we're going to give thanks for the good, we have to also give thanks for the bad. We can't sing Show us Your glory or Word of God speak and then decide how His glory should be revealed or what truths we will accept and implement in our lives. This isn't Old Country Buffet.

Now before we go beating ourselves up for having ungrateful hearts or thinking about those we know that seem to have an entitlement problem, let's keep our eyes on the ball.

The fact is that God cared enough about all of us to wake us up to this, hence this post. It's not about condemnation but being made aware and then doing something about it. True, we probably aren't going to walk around with strings on our fingers, or start tying tassels to the bottoms of our tops every day, but what if, just to start a new habit of being thankful, every time we say thank you to the human facing us, we also give a shout of thanks to God? And let's start with the obvious things: the eyes to see the person, the air we are breathing, the chair we are sitting in or the legs we are standing on. It doesn't need to be fancy or grand, it just needs to be an acknowledgement to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. And let's not forget, sometimes those perfect gifts come in unattractive packages that just draw us closer to Him or remind us that He's always there. Maybe by doing this we'll start to see more good than bad and realize that we have much more to be thankful for than we ever knew.

No comments: