Here at our monastery different ones of us take turns giving regular tours of our church to anyone who wishes to see it. In the winter months visitors are less frequent, and so on my one day a week of tour duty, I often have a few extra minutes to browse the bookstore for new authors. Last week I picked up a beautifully covered book by Ann Voskamp, not an unknown name, but one I haven’t read. Feeling a bit depressed that day, the sub-title “Reflections on finding everyday graces” caught my attention as something I’d like to find today!
Recently I’ve started the habit of starting and ending each day with things for which I’m grateful. I jot down 10 things I was grateful for from the day, especially on days I feel down. In Voskamp’s first reflection, Surprising Grace, she writes, “To bring the sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice our understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent. A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyways—always.”
Laying down my perspective is the challenge for me-always. I know God to be only good, but some days, like this particular day, when something I really want doesn’t happen, I don’t want to remain grateful to God. I’d rather blame him, be angry at him and cry out why aren’t things different? Why can’t my perspective work? Laying down and giving thanks-always, doesn’t naturally come to practice. But in His grace he always answers us and is always patient with us.
Voskamp sums it up more eloquently, “We give thanks to God not because of how we feel but because of who He is.” Amen to that—and thank God for his never changing nature which always only has our truest and best intentions in mind.