the practice of thankfulness

gratitudeYesterday, I was in a funk.

I’ve been struggling the last couple of days with feelings of unworthiness, been a little stressed out about some projects I’ve been working on, and I think I’ve been struggling with some “last days of summer blues.”

I know full and well the power of going to church, coming before God, and being in fellowship with other Christians during times of stress and being overwhelmed.

And yet… admittedly, I just couldn’t bring myself to “get up and at ’em” for church…

Instead, I worshiped on the trails.

Next week, I’m pulling A.J. in the bike trailer as a fundraiser for Restorations. I’ve been trying to bike more to prepare, and I’ve really been enjoying biking for exercise. I feel so much better – mentally and physically – when I exercise on a regular basis, but I’ve been finding it difficult to find something that fits my budget, interest and time. I bought a used bike trailer off Kijiji and love that I now have an activity that makes me feel like I’m working hard and can do with A.J.  But yesterday, I just took myself and my bike to the nearest trails, and within moments nature and the act of moving my body uplifted me.

I spent some time in worship, and I told myself to thank God for 5 things in my life.

I seriously have so much to be thankful for. The news (Syrian refugees, slavery, natural disasters, recessions, etc.) is a constant reminder of how thankful I should be for what I have.

But can I shamefully admit something?

I had a hard time (at first) coming up with things to be thankful for. Not necessarily because I had trouble coming up with anything, but at first the practice seemed silly to me; I kept coming up with genuine things I was thankful for (family, health), but then I questioned myself: are these just “easy” answers? I felt like the kids during children’s sermons who automatically answer any question asked of them with “God,” “Jesus,” “Bible,” “love.”

So I thought to myself: how can I better practice thankfulness? The 5 things I came up with for which I’m thankful, they weren’t “wrong” answers (although they felt easy). But how can I continue to practice thankfulness so I can find gratitude in anything and everything? Stop comparing my life to others? Find gratitude in the tough or mundane circumstances? Be thankful for the people who really drive me crazy or hurt me?

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:15-17

Finding things to be thankful got easier the farther I rode. I easily surpassed five (things, and kilometers!). Now I just have to keep practicing.


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