Get an air conditioner. For your soul.
Maybe we’ve got it wrong. This New Year’s resolution thing. We all know the numbers. Hardly anyone sticks with their ‘resolutions’. We’ve gotta try something new. OK. Try gratitude. Never underestimate the power of thanksgiving to change your world, to air condition your soul, to help you form a future you’re so confident of you’re thanking God for it already!
Amongst the funniest comedy of errors ever in a movie is Ben Stiller (aka Greg Gaylord), in ‘Meet the Parents’, at the future in-law's dinner table. He is asked to say grace. He quotes line by line the verse from a song from the 1971 folk/rock opera, Godspell, ‘Day by Day’. The future father in law, (Robert de Niro), bemused, calls it ‘interesting’.
Saying grace is about giving thanks before you eat the food in front of you. I know, this is real faith when your brother Paul has brewed up Chili ’n meatballs, but the whole idea of giving thanks for something before you’ve experienced it is not what we’re used to. We give thanks after we’ve received it, not before. However, this new idea is a practice from the Scriptures. Philippians 4:6 tells us to pray for things with thanksgiving. This means we’re thankful for the thing before we’ve got it. Other Scriptures say we should give thanks in and for ‘everything’. Seems crazy. Even the bad things?!
G.K. Chesterton, a mentor of C.S. Lewis and amongst the greatest thinkers of recent history 'I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.’
Even when things are not going well, give thanks. This brings God into your situation. This forces you to discover the positives and transform your negatives into something good.
When we get grateful we turn on the air conditioner. Sour, stale attitudes get flushed out. Cool, refreshing air blows through our brain. If we’re overheating, we cool down. If we’re chilly, we warm up. Appreciation is the password into an audience with God. It opens doors pretty well everywhere.
Thank people publicly, privately. Thank those close to you, those distant from you. Thank family, friends and even enemies. Thank people with a small note or a long letter, a quick text, or a thoughtful gift. Thank people for whatever small or big benefit they’ve brought your way. People aren’t generally looking for thanks, but ingratitude is a very cold wind. Don’t feel entitled to anything. Feel grateful for everything. Especially the year ahead. Defeat that complaining weasel within with a life that overflows with thanksgiving.
Whatever you’re hoping for this year, for yourself, for others, give thanks now for your brilliant future.