What if my name was “Thankful?”
Think of all the times in your life your mom has called your name. Or how many times your childhood friends used your name in a rhyming song just to tease you. Or how often you have scrolled your signature on cards or letters. Your name becomes part of who you are.
If this is so and if my name was “Thankful,” I might be a different kind of person. I might become what I am called.
If my name was Thankful, my name would remind me of all that I have been given, with no credit to myself, just as we are given our names at birth long before our parents know what we will do or be like.
If my name were Thankful, perhaps I would become just that: full of Thanks.
I want that. I want to be full of thanks. Don’t you?
This week, many of us will sit down to a turkey dinner with people we know and love. We will pass the mashed potatoes and gravy and laugh with Grampa when he tells that funny story…again. We might even go around the table and say what we are thankful for.
And being human, we will also complain about how tired we are or about how that guy cut us off in traffic yesterday. Many of us will find our disgruntled noises as big a side dish as the cranberry sauce: The things that didn’t go our way. The moments we were wronged. The things we wish we had or wish we didn’t have.
But if my name was Thankful, I might be better at seeing all I have been given without deserving it or working for it… just like a name is given before we grow into it.
The gift of breathing clean air.
The fresh feeling of a clean head of hair.
To see a sunrise and a sunset.
The touch of another’s hand in yours.
The magical way it feels to laugh long and often.
The forgiveness from a friend when we have done wrong.
And the presence of a loving God, no matter where we have been or where we are headed.
"Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!"
I want to be full of thanks. Full to the brim; so full that it comes pouring out in praise!
How about you? How would that change who you are?
Why does God ask us to be thankful and count our blessings?
I have learned that being full of gratitude is the best way to be joyful. When the weight of my life and troubles sits heavy on my shoulders, I will hear myself start to recognize these simple blessings and the weight gets lighter:
“I am thankful for a warm, safe place to sleep.” “I am grateful for the smell of yummy food.”
“I love the sound of a baby laughing!”
I want to see all those little things and count them up until they outweigh the hard things in my life. I want to gather them all in the storehouse of my heart and pour through them in times of trouble so that I will be reminded of the joy life has to offer.
And most of all, I want to turn to the Good Father that created sleep, yummy food and babies… and thank Him for all of it. It is in that grateful moment that I stand in God’s presence and see him fully. It is there that I can find joy no matter what is in the world around me.
The Apostle Paul wrote of this life practice to new believers in Thessalonica:
“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time;
thank God no matter what happens.
This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Message)
I hope that my rambling make sense to you, my friends. I hope that you, too, will choose to be full of thanks… now and year-round.
I hope you will entertain the idea of living into a new name and consider how it could bring you joy unexpected.
I hope you too will ask yourself…
What if my name was ‘Thankful?”
Shalom and Happy Thankfulness,