Thursday, November 28, 2013

On Thankfulness

Today, I am practicing thankfulness. Intentionally. And to the depth of my being.

It's Thanksgiving in America, and this holiday tends to bring this sentiment out of even the most stubborn of us. Not usually me, though. In fact, if I'm being honest, anyone looking at my life would be hard-pressed to find thankfulness a theme - holiday or no holiday. This bothers me (even though it's my own fault) because at my core, I am overwhelmingly thankful.

Particularly in times like these.

Oh, I might call it other things. I might call it humbled - in complete disbelief that such a story could be my story, in awe that God would choose me. I might call it awe - that complete inability to fathom that this is real. I might call it blessedness - the realization that I don't deserve all that I have, but I have all that I need and somehow, abundantly more. I put it in all of these terms so that I understand what my action must be, what I must do in response to such a story.

But underneath it all lies an unspoken thankfulness. So today, I am working on being simply that.

I've already said what my problem is. That is, I'm always trying to figure out what my action must be, how I have to respond to this life that is beyond my wildest imagination. It's a life I don't deserve, and I am fully aware of that. But I feel like I ought to do something to honor it, at least. Which means that all of these things in my life that I'm thankful for have somehow become burdens, to the point that if I am telling you my story, you might think I am stressed, grumpy, complaining, overwhelmed, burdened...and a host of other things that never look like thankfulness. These external manifestations of what is truly grace betray me. This is not how I feel, not most days.

Most days, I just want to cry, Thank you! but it doesn't seem enough. There was a time earlier in this season of my awesome, blessed, developing life, where I stood on the patio overlooking the mountains and the lake and sang from the bottom of my heart with MIKESCHAIR - All I can do is thank You for this life I never deserved. And I meant it. Then I came home to the painting on my wall, which more accurately reflects the way I normally handle such a blessed story. It says this: Live a life worthy... The unfinished part echoes, Of the calling of God on your life.

And that's how I usually respond to the good things in life - by figuring out how to live worthy of them. In all of that, I pressure myself, burden myself, break myself trying to make something out of this when all that it is has simply been given to me. Fully. And I forget to be thankful. And I forget to act thankful. And I forget to look thankful. Because I'm too busy looking busy and trying to look worthy.

I'm not worthy. I never have been. I never will be. No matter what good work I do, no matter what good grace I give, no matter what good love I live, I will never be worthy of the incredible blessing God continues to pour out on my life. Not in this season, not in the last, not in the next. Not in the rainy season and the fertile ground; not in the dry skies in the desert. Whatever I have has been given to me, and I'm working on just saying Thank you. 

Increasingly, I think that's the most honor I can give this story. More and more every day, I realize that's the best thing I can do. And that takes a lot of pressure off.

So today, because there is never a more fitting day to try something new than simply today (regardless of whether it's Thanksgiving or not), I'm practicing thankfulness. Intentionally. And to the depth of my being.

Because I am thankful. Above all else, I am thankful.

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