I have been reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot titled , Keep a Quiet Heart. In a section titled God's Curriculum, she writes several short chapters on the act of thankfulness. In it she says,
“The mature Christian offers not just polite thanks but heartfelt thanks that springs from a far deeper source that his own pleasure. Thanksgiving is a spiritual exercise necessary to the building of a healthy soul. It takes us out of the stuffiness of ourselves into the fresh breeze and sunlight of the will of God. As our faith in the character of God grows deeper we see that heavenly light is shed on everything - even on suffering- so that we are enabled to thank Him for things we never would have thought before."
I mulled over those words, blending them together with 1 Thessalonians 5: 18,
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.
in ALL circumstances
for this is God's will
The trials of life
The joys of life
Even the dreaded dentist appointment! As trivial as it was, I knew I should practice thankfulness in the dentist chair.
And so there I was, practicing being thankful as the needles came, and the drill hit its source. Thankful thankful thankful. Thankful that I can afford this procedure to fix my minor cavities, as if anything is really minor in the dentist chair. Thankful that modern technology makes this less painful. Thankful that I don't have to loose teeth. And on and on I practiced thankfulness as I was in the chair for 2 hours.
My dentist must have noticed that something was different, because at the end, he said, " You weren't tense and fighting me like you normally are, so what's up?" I grinned, then told him I was doing some spiritual exercising while in that dentist chair, that I was practicing thankfulness. He looked as if he thought I was a bit 'out there'. And so I shared briefly what I had read that morning, the quote on thankfulness, and the bible verse about being thankful in all things. He seemed to appreciate the words on thankfulness, commenting on things in his life that he could be thankful for.
Today in a very trivial way, I was allowed to practice thankfulness, resulting not just in healthier teeth, but hopefully a healthier soul. A soul that knows we are not just to offer thanks for the good things, for the pleasant, or the sublime, but also for what is perceived as unpleasant, as challenging, as scary. And that, whoo boy, that takes a lot of work. Hard, gut wrenching work. There is no free ride to having a healthy soul. But the path there IS most certainly through praising God and offering sincere thankfulness ~ in all things.