Act 37: Debrief

The game is gratitude. Without gratitude, you’ll never be content with the things God’s given you. And, because sometimes we need to run life a little slower in order to see what we can be grateful for, we’ve made today’s act a little simpler…

 Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:

One option today:
 
Run back over the last month of 40acts. What have you seen that’s surprised you? What’s been tough? What’s cheered you up the most? Who have you been grateful for – and can you thank them today?

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“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
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Your thought for today:

When I was asked to write about gratitude I was, if I’m completely honest, stumped. Lots of people far wiser than me have said insightful things about gratitude and I didn’t have anything new to add.

And so, I nearly bailed on writing this. The only thing stopping me from doing so was my overwhelming sense of duty.

But then it hit me. So often, that’s our attitude towards thanksgiving as well. Our ‘attitude to gratitude’, if you will. We figure that if we don’t have anything groundbreaking to say, we might as well not say it.

We will, for the most part, say thank you for elaborate gifts, or surprise visits. We have no qualms about writing a thank-you letter when we’ve been to a wonderful party. But when it comes to the ordinary, everyday things of life, we forget. Or, quite possibly, we decide it’s probably not worth it.

This attitude frequently spills over from my everyday life and into my prayers as well. If it wasn’t a miracle, an incredible answer to prayer that I want to tell everyone about immediately, I will often pass on thanking God for it. If it’s just the ordinary things of everyday life which someone has probably already thanked God for, I tend to avoid mentioning it in my prayers.

Except this isn’t how this is supposed to work. Prayer – and life in general – was never meant to be about saying the most impressive thing.

What if we started to look for reasons to be grateful in our everyday, ordinary lives? The colleague who brings us a cup of tea every morning, the neighbour who stops mowing their lawn to ask us how we are, the cashier who we see every week but still know nothing about.

Perhaps, as we look back over the past five weeks, we can spot both the extraordinary encounters and the ordinary occurrences for which we can give thanks.

Take the time today – either by reflecting on the last few weeks, by recognising the significant things or by concentrating on the ordinary things in front of you – to offer distinctly dull thanks. Distinctly dull to you, perhaps, but possibly groundbreaking for the one who receives it.



Written by Nell Goddard
Nell studied theology at Durham University and is now a writer at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. Her first book, Musings of a Clergy Child: Growing into a faith of my own, was published by BRF in June 2017.


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