How are you coming along in the ideas for developing fluency in gratitude? That’s the point of all this. In a culture where getting more than anyone else and taking offense seem to be the most popular skill sets, being people of obvious gratitude makes us radical. We stand out. We are the ones who live by another rule, who make those other rules look as meaningless as they are.
But like my daughter studying in Spain, we need practice to become fluent. Fluency in gratitude makes it our first language. Our go-to when life hands us something we could complain about. The auto-response when fear or hopelessness threaten.
The final way to practice thanks is physical. We practice through worship. And worship is not the lukewarm thing we have made it to be.
You’ve got to move it, move it.
The Israelites had masters degrees in this thanksgiving through worship thing.
They burst into song, with tambourine accompaniment, after going through the Red Sea. Who wrote the words? How did they know them all? I don’t know how this spontaneous song thing works. But they had it down. (Exodus 15)
They walked all around the new walls of Jerusalem with the entire worship team and all its backups making so much noise it could be heard in three counties. All to praise God and thank him for making the rebuilding possible. (Nehemiah 12)
The Psalmists repeat the pattern 150 times (more or less). “I’m facing danger/ridicule/loss. But I remember God!” Cue the harps and poetry slam.
They also had no reservations about posture doing worship. They knelt, danced, stood with raised hands, fell on their faces. It was all fair game. The uptight Scandinavian in me has trouble turning my palms upward during worship. That’s as radical as we get.
When we let ourselves go in a physical release of joy, our bodies respond in a real way. We release the stress. It loses its hold on us when we let go of our inhibitions and give thanks in worship.
I’m not suggesting dancing down the street naked like David. Some inhibitions keep us out of jail. (Although in your own home, alone, hey, whatever man.) But when is the last time you shouted, sang, danced your gratitude to the Lord without reserve?
Here are some possibilities:
- Sing songs of worship and praise. Loudly. Softly. However you need. With the windows open, if you want.
- Read poetry of praise. Write it, if that appeals to you.
- Read testimonies of others’ faith. Hearing what God has done in the lives of others helps us remember what we have to be thankful for.
- Do something physical. Dance. Kneel. Go down on you face and praise God in awe. A change in the body often produces a change in the heart.
- Find an instrument and play along with your iTunes list. Get in front of those piano keys again. Pick up a set of bells or maracas at a teacher store. Bang a frying pan if that’s what you’ve got. Bring the whole family in on this one!
Thanksgiving through physical worship offers a release many of us don’t even know is open to us. Try it every day this week and see if you don’t feel more thankful through your day.
Let me know in the comments what you have discovered though these exercises in gratitude fluency. We’d all love to know!