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Thankfulness is an art

By Emma Worrall / August 4, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I am loving the weather at the moment. Days of blue sky and sunshine. It’s good to wake up to, and kick start the day. But even with the glorious sunshine I’m hearing people say ‘it’s too hot!’ Let’s be honest us Brits like a bit of moaning, don’t we? And we love griping about the weather… It’s too wet, too dull, too cold… And now it’s too hot!

I’m on a mission. And I hope you’ll join me. I’m on a mission to rediscover the Art of Thankfulness. Let’s kick back against the moaning, the culture of entitlement and discontent and start living out a life of thankfulness. It’s an art – an art each of us can live out.

The Art of thankfulness starts with a big admission:

I ask God for a lot. I thank him for very little.

I heard these words and felt the challenge deeply. That’s me, that’s what I’m like. I reel off my prayer requests to God, expecting instant answers. I feel I’m entitled to stuff and all too easily feel discontent – the hit of a retail purchase doesn’t last long, I’m there looking, casting my eye for what’s next on my wish list.

‘God had a plan and a purpose to place us in that dark place. Evin prison became a church for us. We were able to speak to more people about Jesus there than in freedom.’

The more I hear stories from the persecuted church, the more it sinks in that they know all about the art of thankfulness. They thank God for almost everything and in comparison they ask him for very little. In the darkest of places, in the most painful of circumstances they choose to be thankful. They look for God’s hand in it all, they seek out the small things and whisper ‘thank you‘.

So the next lesson in the art of thankfulness is recognising who God is, and all he’s done for us. In light of that we have so much to be thankful for. It’s living with that knowledge that can make a prison a place of Joy and gratitude…

I recently heard the story of two women from Iran who were locked up in a prison known for its horrific human rights record. During their first night in custody all they had for blankets were smelly course sheets, stained with sweat, and damp with urine. Still they thanked God for what they had. In the days that followed they were locked up in solitary confinement, the threat of execution hung over them, and still they lived lives of thankfulness.

Their words are still ringing in my ears:

‘God had a plan and a purpose to place us in that dark place. Evin prison became a church for us. We were able to speak to more people about Jesus there than in freedom.’

The key is to look out for the small things to be thankful for. It seems to be what persecuted christians do all the time. I go running, and when I’m not dying of a stitch and out of breath, I try to thank God for stuff, just stuff that comes into my head… The smell of freshly mown grass (anyone with me there?!), the cool breeze as I’m running, people who I do life with…

I’m on a mission. Will you join me? Let’s go and live the art of thankfulness.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:6-7

The Author
Emma works part time for Open Doors. She loves inspiring stories and loves to see people doing stuff to change the world. She loves a good cuppa, and must start the day with a bowl of Cornflakes.

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