Practicing Gratitude and Trust
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will
for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Last night we deepened our understanding of what it means to be thankful. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that we were reminded of something we already knew to be true but continually forget – even in what seem like the worst circumstances, there is beauty and blessing. Ed Dobson’s words and life helped us remember that we need not be thankful for all things (in Ed’s case, ALS), but can choose to be thankful in all things.
One of the most beautiful moments of the night was coming to the table in celebration and gratitude for Christ and the way he nourishes our souls by his sacrifice, his presence, and his power. Doing this together felt like the only thing that could be done after our time of intercession for the world, confession of our sins, hearing Ed’s story, writing down every blessing until our hands hurt, and joining our voices in the litany of thanksgiving. I’m still humming Praise to the Lord the Almighty this morning and when I’m alone, I think I’ll belt out the Hallelujah chorus.
This week our Kingdom Practice is practicing gratitude and trust, which Mark Scandrette talks about in chapter 3 of Free. As we mentioned last night, one of his suggestions is to practice keeping a gratitude log, writing down five things for which you are thankful either in the morning or evening. Another might be to do what Ann Voskamp did and name 1000 gifts or blessings by leaving little notecards around the house so you can catch even the way the light hits a soap bubble in the sink and write it down, giving thanks. I have kept a gratitude journal for about a year. Before bed, I scan through my day and just list out every blessing. The pages fill up fast when my eyes are open to see the gifts in all circumstances! Mark has other suggestions in his book that might work well for you. Whatever way we do it, let’s practice, practice, practice!
May our eyes be open to the blessings all around us and may we be practitioners of gratitude!