Sometimes, I can’t help but think that most Americans -yes, even the Christian ones- are just spoiled bratts. Ouch. Quite the opening statement, huh? But seriously….we ask God for things all of the time. “Lord, don’t let me be sick with this cold.” “Lord, can you stop the clock so I can sleep a little bit more?” “Lord, can I please get that promotion at work?” “Lord, heal this person.” “Lord, do ______” We ask and we ask and then we ask some more, but do we ever thank Him?
I know this morning I was doing a whole lot of whining. Actually, the whining started yesterday afternoon. I had a really bad headache that started up around lunch time and carried on until this morning-even though I took medicine twice. On top of that, I was just in a sad mood. I don’t know why, nothing bad happened at work, but I was just really sad. As in, I walked in the front door of my house crying for no reason which left my husband wondering what in the world was wrong with his hormonal, emotional, strange wife. That kind of sad mood. I still don’t know why I was sad, but thank goodness I’m over that now.
Anyways, so I spent most of my morning whining to God about a number of different things. My job. Our finances. Roman’s job that he hasn’t gotten yet. My messy house. My addiction to anything that starts with the Letter ‘C’ and ends in ‘hocolate’. Why does getting into shape have to be so hard? Why does paying off debt have to be so hard? Why can’t the air conditioner just cool down the house? Yea, you get the point. As I was driving to work, I get a text message on my phone through my church’s prayer list. One of our church members who was in an accident several week ago is back in the hospital. She has an infection in her leg. This is the millionth time she has had to go back into the hospital. Right now, the doctors are just trying to save her leg. Trying to not have to do surgery. Trying to make this as painless as possible.
For the first time that morning I shut up. And God finally had the opportunity to talk.
She would give anything to get in her car and drive herself to work, Sarah. Even if she didn’t like her job. She would give anything just to not be in that hospital bed. And what about My children in third world countries? They are starving to death. What about the missionaries who are being persecuted for following Me? You need to understand that I understand what You are going through, and I will be with you through it all. But You also need to stop focusing on yourself so much, and start thanking Me for everything I’ve done for you.
Can I get an Amen? That was very painful for my heart to hear, but it was also very needed. And I feel like I am not the only one who needs to hear something along those lines. I see a nation of people who can go from zero to red-faced-angry in less than a second–all because someone cut them off in traffic. And yes, I am one of those people in a nation of many. And yes, I also proclaim to be a Christian. And yes, I am the worship pastor at my church. Ouch.
So, my dearest friends, can we just take a moment to chill out? Can we have a little attitude adjustment? A little come-to-Jesus meeting? Because I need to be a person who knows how to tell God “thank You”. And I don’t just need to know how to say thanks, but I need to actually say the words with my MOUTH. Out loud. Every day. And I think that if our self-centered nation would do the same, then maybe, just maybe, we could be a happier, less stressed, group of people.
So let’s all play the Thank You Game. It’s really quite simple, with only two rules:
1) Thank God every day for something He has done.
2) Use your actual vocal chords.
Not hard, right? I challenge all of you to put some real thought into this. Get creative. Try it for a few minutes and I promise your mood will get a little better. And for those of you are ‘thinking-challenged’, I’ll even make it easy for you. I’ll list off everything I thanked God for in the car on my way to work (after He stomped all over my toes and I repented for my extreme un-thankfulness.)
Example #1: Thank Him for yourself. I know, it can be hard, especially for us women. But God made each of us beautiful and wonderful, and we need to thank Him for that. Here are some of mine:
Thank You for my long blond hair and my pretty blue eyes. Thank You for my brain that is so quick to learn new things. Thank You for my musical talents. Thank You for my strong legs that let me run every day. Thank You for my health. Thank You for my creativity.
Example #2: Thank Him for other people in your life.
Thank You for my husband-he is so strong and supportive and kind. Thank You for giving me a man who treats me so well and who loves You so much. Thank You that he thinks I am beautiful when I don’t, and can make me laugh even when I cry for now reason. Thank You for my parents and for his parents. Thank You that they both have modeled a strong marriage relationship for us to copy. Thank You for their wisdom and guidance. Thank You for our Pastor and his wife. Thank You for giving us such strong leaders in our church. Thank You for our friends and for all of the happiness they bring us. Thank You for our darling three pets who make us smile every day.
Example #3: Thank Him for what He has done for you.
Thank You for our two vehicles that take us to work, and for the house that protects us from the outdoors. Thank You for our jobs. Thank You for our ability to make money in order to pay our bills. Thank You for bringing us through the first two years of our marriage. Thank You for providing for us every day. Thank You for blessing us, even when we don’t deserve it. Thank You for healing me earlier this year.
Example #4: Thank Him for who He is.
Thank You for being a God of love and mercy. Thank You for being a God who disciplines us so that we can one day walk with You. Thank You for dying on that cross. Thank You for listening to us, even when we whine. Thank You for being so beautiful. So holy. So strong. Thank You for protecting us from the enemy-You do things for us that we will never even know. Thank You for being our Creator.
Example #5: Thank God for what He will do in the future. Speak your requests into existence. Your prayers are powerful!
Thank You for Roman’s job. Thank You that it will be something wonderful that he will enjoy waking up and doing. Thank You for our future home. Thank You for our future (way-future) healthy children. Thank You for leading us into a place where we are debt-free.
Example #6: If all else fails, thank Him for the most random things you can think of:
Thank You for the sun. Thank You for that tree. Thank You for that granola bar I ate two days ago. Thank You for clean water. Thank You for the rain. Thank You for my comfy pillow. Thank You for making tasty things for us to eat. Like
chocolate salad. Thank You for smiles. Thank You for fingernail polish. Thank You for fingernail polish remover because I stink at painting my fingernails. Thank You for nail salons so that I don’t have to paint my fingernails.
I think I have more than made my point. So ladies and gentlemen, can we please please please try to be more thankful today? After all, we are breathing today which is something in and of itself that we can be thankful for! So quit being grouchy and whiny and thank God for something today. Do it with your whole family-teach your kids that thanking God is an important task to do every day. Do it while you’re driving down the road after a tough day at work. Just say thanks. Because He is so worthy, and we are so blessed.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You annoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” ~Psalm 23