Truthfully, I'm procrastinating.
Which just happens to be the word that was on Word Girl yesterday afternoon while I was curling the girls' hair for the Easter program. But that's neither here nor there.
I should be on to other things, already, this morning.
Instead, I was perusing the latest edition of World magazine, while Little Man was eating his cinnamon cereal, and I found myself looking for one of my favorite features. The "Voices" section - the regular columnists, Andree Seu being one of the first I always read.
Her column titled "The Magic Word" (you can read an excerpt here and while you're at it, you should subscribe, too, if you don't already) is about saying "Thank You".
"Upon reflection I replied that what helps me is the practice of thanks. If you are thanking God throughout the day, you are walking in the pathway of grace. . . the presence of God directly relates to your worship, and the aroma of thanks ascending releases His resources into your life."
She then tells the story of Betsie and Corrie Ten Boom and giving thanks for the fleas that prevented the guards from intervening in their barracks, allowing them to study the Bible and share Christ unhindered. (I highly recommend "The Hiding Place", too, if you haven't read it.)
We had fleas in our house, once (long story). And no dog. I'm not sure I gave thanks. I don't remember giving thanks, anyway. Except maybe for the exterminator who finally helped us get rid of them.
But I believe this principle with all my heart. Giving thanks changes ME. My perspective. My focus. My attitude.
In our BSF study last week of Isaiah 60, we dove into the second half of verse 18. "Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates praise." The first part? Speaks of our security. Which comes not from our circumstances (which may or not be what we would choose), but from our Savior and our promise of eternal life.
But the gates of praise? This reminds us that praise takes us into the presence of the living God.
Not just in church when all of the children are clean (sort of), combed or curled, dressed nicely, and behaving in a somewhat decent way. . . the music is lovely, the words to the hymn glorious. . . my handsome coach is beside me (or at least near me, sometimes you have to divide and conquer), and for that moment I am overwhelmed with the goodness of God in allowing me to be so very blessed in spite of the fact that I am completely undeserving.
Those are good moments of praise.
But the better ones? The ones I think truly delight our Lord?
Are when things are going completely wrong. . . and we STILL say, "Thank you."
I am grateful I don't have to say thank you for fleas, today. That I know of.
But I will have an opportunity today. Every day. To say "Thank you, Lord." for what He brings to me, allows in my day, trusts to my care. I can say "Thank you, Lord, that I am healthy, strong, and can run the 6 miles on my training schedule, today." Instead of focusing on how tired I am, how much I want to crawl back into bed, and how much I have to do.
"The frequent God-ward utterance of "thank you" is the maintenance mode of larger spiritual warfare." (Andree Seu)
Being thankful helps me do what I should, even when I don't feel like it. Helps me smile about circumstances that make me want to cry (although it's OK if there is crying, too!). Helps me love, when I feel unloving. It opens the pathway into my heart for God's grace to pour through.
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful until Him, and bless His name." Psalm 100:4