Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do you know the secret password?

Enter with the password:
"Thank You!"
Make yourselves at home,
talking praise.
Thank Him.
Worship Him.
For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.
Psalm 100:4-5


I remember while growing up- when I asked for something and forgot "Please and Thank You" that I'd be asked, "What's the magic word?"

Magic word.
Hmm.
I like the phrasing here better- "Enter with the password."
Thank You as a password- what a novel idea. Two words that hold a multitude of gratitude. Two words that can make or break a friendship. Two words that can revive a relationship, encourage and uplift....
Two words that tell us we are important, what we do matters, is noticed and noted.
So simple and yet so very important.... so very necessary.
Their use is never overdone-- can never be said too much or too often.
When we forget to say them we can hurt others deeply.
More so- if we forget to say them our hearts begin atrophy. When we don't say and share thanks, we grow colder, putting distance between ourselves and others. If we cannot continually recognize thankfulness enough to say the words then we do not really recognize it in depth.
On the other hand, if we daily, moment by moment look for and recognize our thankfuls, our hearts stretch and grow to include more than we ever imagined we should want to say thanks for...
When Ann Voscamp first asked us to join her in writing a Thousand Thanks back in 2006, I found the first 500 or so things easy to scribble down and soon my eyes began to look for the thankfuls. When I started really looking, I started to see differently. I found hard thankfuls and was inspired and touched more deeply than I had ever expected. Imagine being thankful for the hard things in this life? For the painful and the uncomfortable, the difficult and the terrifying.... My attitude towards gratitude did a flip flop... the deeper I looked for real thankfuls the more my heart stretched and grew.
Here is what I have learned these last five years of tallying my gratitude:
I do not have to be grateful for pain but I can be thankful for the strength and new level of endurance is brings me.
I do not have to be grateful for things that make me uncomfortable but I can be thankful I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone and reached.
I do not have to be grateful for difficult circumstances but I can be thankful for the very present reminder it gives when I have come through those circumstances to the other side... that I survived.
I don't have to be grateful for the terrifying things but I can be thankful for God's leading me through them.
Isn't that amazing? Writing down my hard thankfuls has softened my heart in ways I could never imagine and fortified me to continually find the good in the midst of the most difficult situations.
It has caused me to search and make note- that in my lifetime, there has never really truly been a need He has not met, a difficulty He has not walked through with me, a moment that He has not been holding me. That is sobering. How can you possibly thank Jesus for these things? For the seen, the known, and the unseen, unknown gifts He gives?
You speak the password.
You LIVE the password.
A life that lives and breathes gratitude.
I want to live this life.

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