Something I’m really good at is asking for stuff. It’s a gift I’ve honed with practice, but frankly I was born with it. Whatever way you look at it, ‘gimme’ slips off the tongue a lot easier than ‘thank-you’.
One of my favourite verses is from Phil 4:6: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God’.
Except that this isn’t the verse. Without fail, there’s a bit that I forget :
‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’
I like my version best. But maybe Paul’s onto something. Thankfulness after all is a crucial part of the Christian walk. Over and over the Bible reminds us: be thankful. At all times: give thanks.
In my head, I totally get it. Thankfulness is important. Like bible spectacles for the short-sighted: they stop us losing focus or fixating on one aspect of our story, (usually the bad bits) . As someone who gets stuck in the details, I need reminding: there’s more to life than me. Being thankful lifts my eyes to what’s really going on. A bigger story than the one I can see: someone greater than the family dramas, the bills or the endless lists.
That’s the theory. And I’m – almost – totally on board. It’s just that – thankfulness seems risky. You see, if I get all joyful with where I actually am, God might stop listening to my prayers about where I want to be. He’ll mistake my acceptance of things that are hard with contentment. Which means He won’t change them. He might bump my needs down the list in favour of someone a little sadder. And more vocal. And – worst of all – he might actually change my heart so I start wanting His kingdom instead of my own. Which would be life changing. Scary. And maybe even – good.