Two Simple Words
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Simple words. When I was a child, they were the twin to another magic word – “Please”.
Sometimes mumbled as an afterthought. Occasionally shouted and accompanied by a bear hug. Always appropriate.
And we are Grateful.
It’s November. And people seem more inclined to start making a list of things for which they are thankful. Sometimes that’s the ‘ticket’ for Thanksgiving Dinner (it was for me – click to read my childhood list of “70 Reasons to Thank God”)
Why not say Thank You every single day? Twice?
- To GOD – the Giver of all.
- To Someone else.
Who touched your life with kindness or encouragement? With a gift or a timely word? Perhaps long ago (a teacher? your mama?) or even today (a colleague? or helpful store clerk?).
I want Gratitude to be my lifestyle — my ‘daily default.’ I believe we can train ourselves to be people who awaken with these words on our lips, “Good Morning, God,” rather than the grumble “Good God, it’s morning…”
Back around the time my New England church was gathered (1635) poet George Herbert captured beautifully what it means to live a life of constant praise.
“Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart…
Not thankful when it pleaseth me;
As if Thy blessings had spare days:
But such a heart whose pulse may be
Thy praise.” – George Herbert*
I want a Grateful heart. Every day. Not just in November. And not just on Thanksgiving.
I want my very pulse to be praise. How about you?
Thank you, God, for _____________________.
Thank you, ______(name) for _________________.
While we can talk to God anytime in prayer and give Him thanks, I’m suggesting you keep a written list. And the caveat for #2 is that you have to actually THANK the person verbally either face-to-face or in a voicemail, text, note, letter, postcard, social media or skywriting.
Okay, I’ll go first:
- Thank you, God, for physical and mental strength to go teach high schoolers today.
- Thank you, Lori, for walking with me through a ‘professional glitch’ a few years ago. (I will tell her this in person when we meet for coffee this afternoon.)
See — we can do this! Hey, it’s not rocket science, it’s just taking time to notice God’s blessings and to acknowledge what others have done.
Not feeling particularly thankful today? I get it. Life is hard. Sometimes we have to dig deep to find something praiseworthy in our current situation. Living in gratitude is making a choice to thank God ‘anyway’ however He chooses to resolve difficulties.
We are not negating the fact that while there is so much happening that is good, pain and suffering are all around us. Our gratitude does not ignore the struggles, but chooses to thank God for His presence in the middle of them, for His power to help us live as overcomers, and for His purposes that will be revealed as a result of our perseverance. *
If we do this every day, our thanks-giving will bless others (as they realize we remember their efforts) and will also strengthen us as we walk through the busy holiday season!
Two simple words.
When I am the one who offers those words (whether to God or another person), I experience renewed hope and purpose, recognizing that I am most blessed.
Two powerful words.
“The magic of words is that they have power
to do more than convey meaning;
Not only do they have the power to make things clear,
they make things happen.” – Frederich Buechner
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136.1
under the mercy, Cindy
©2014 Lucinda Secrest McDowell EncouragingWords.net
*selected from Day 11 in “Live These Words” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell ©2014
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