Do I Thank G-d Too Often?

 

Gratitude plays a big part in my life. I thank my husband when he makes dinner, or washes the dishes, or turns on the coffeemaker. I thank a friend for picking us up for our workout. I thank another friend for being my friend. And I thank another friend for allowing me to help her with her cancer questions. So I’m not stingy with my expressions of gratitude.

But the other day I began to wonder if I was getting into a careless habit: I find myself thanking G-d even for little, seemingly insignificant things. Certainly, I thank Him for the more important things: for the expressions of gratitude that I receive when I manage to inspire others; for my thoughtful husband who not only does many house chores but makes me laugh when I need it. For dear, loving friends in my life.

But other times I find myself expressing thanks to G-d for small things, saying, Baruch HaShem. Thanks for reminding me to wear my knitted hat during my walk. Thanks for the many topics that show up that just need to be written. Thanks for the ache that has finally left my leg. Thanks for reminding me to pick up dates at the grocery store. Thanks for keeping me calm when I try to find my way around the detours in my subdivision. Thanks for keeping my mouth shut when I want to offer unsolicited advice. The list is literally endless.

The reason I question myself is that I wonder if I express my gratitude to Him so often because I question my own ability to remember things, calm myself, write well, or get positive feedback on a post. Am I feeding my own insecurity by giving G-d the credit when I am often capable? Are my expressions of gratitude a bribe that I hope will motivate him to intervene often? Does G-d “shake His head” at my insecurity about my own competence when I brush off my own abilities and give Him the credit? Or is He pleased to hear from me?

My expressions of gratitude to Him are usually spontaneous, in the moment, and I would actually have a difficult time picking and choosing which ones to offer.

So, I just hope He knows that I’m sincere.

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  1. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    I have found that the less I pray, the easier my life seems to be. I don’t know why that is, but has been empirically demonstrated. My prayers are mostly limited to expression of gratitude before meals, and when good things happen; and requests for opportunities to serve. That’s pretty much it for me, but as with all things, do not live by my example.  My relationship with the Allfather is… complicated.

    • #1
  2. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    ”So, I just hope He knows that I’m sincere.“

    You are so funny. And very sweet.

    I think thankfulness and gratitude and humility are the key to a successful life. Not financial success or anything like that, but success in remembering what we’re doing here; humility and gratitude keep us from being distracted by things like financial success.

    It’s hard to remember to be grateful for the sore leg too.

    I think you are doing great, and all of your gratitude is very encouraging to your friends and loved ones, certainly everybody here.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    I have found that the less I pray, the easier my life seems to be. I don’t know why that is, but has been empirically demonstrated. My prayers are mostly limited to expression of gratitude before meals, and when good things happen; and requests for opportunities to serve. That’s pretty much it for me, but as with all things, do not live by my example. My relationship with the Allfather is… complicated.

    I’m just glad to hear you have a relationship with Him, VTK. That’s what matters most. And this:

    I have found that the less I pray, the easier my life seems to be.

    I guess an easy life hasn’t been part of my aims in life. Your experience is intriguing.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):
    It’s hard to remember to be grateful for the sore leg too.

    Now that is interesting. You were suggesting that I be grateful for the soreness? I’ll have to think that one over! Thanks for the kind words.

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    If I were facing God’s justice rather than His grace, an overabundance of gratitude would still be at the bottom of my rap sheet. And that’s another thing to be grateful for.

    • #5
  6. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Geeze Susan. It’s the little things that are the most important. That you notice this is a good thing.

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Geeze Susan. It’s the little things that are the most important. That you notice this is a good thing.

    Gosh, thanks, Seawriter. I hadn’t thought of it that way.

    • #7
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Having just written The Big Joy in Small Things I do not think you are off.

    The Psalms are full of commands to Praise Him. You are following His Law, Susan. Good example for the rest of us.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    That was a beautiful piece, Bryan. Do you think “praising Him” is the same as thanking Him?

    • #9
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    That was a beautiful piece, Bryan. Do you think “praising Him” is the same as thanking Him?

    Yes, I do. Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow

    https://www.facebook.com/InsideTheChosen/videos/303431130641953/

     

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    That was a beautiful piece, Bryan. Do you think “praising Him” is the same as thanking Him?

    Yes, I do. Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow

    https://www.facebook.com/InsideTheChosen/videos/303431130641953/

     

    That’s a wonderful video. Gave me chills.

    • #11
  12. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    No, Susan, you can’t thank God too often. Thankfulness is one of the few (only?) habits for which there is no downside.

    • #12
  13. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    He knows you better than you know yourself. It’s all good.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    Thankfulness is one of the few (only?) habits for which there is no downside.

    Do you think we can thank G-d for the wrong reasons, though, Jim? I’m not sure that I do, but I can’t help wondering if I don’t say thanks to Him so often so that I’ll have Him on my good side! But then, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. (?)

    • #14
  15. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    That was a beautiful piece, Bryan. Do you think “praising Him” is the same as thanking Him?

    Yes, I do. Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow

    https://www.facebook.com/InsideTheChosen/videos/303431130641953/

     

    That’s a wonderful video. Gave me chills.

    Yes I like it, and it is the one Chosen video I can really share with you. The rest is all Jesus-y :)

     

    • #15
  16. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    Thankfulness is one of the few (only?) habits for which there is no downside.

    Do you think we can thank G-d for the wrong reasons, though, Jim? I’m not sure that I do, but I can’t help wondering if I don’t say thanks to Him so often so that I’ll have Him on my good side! But then, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. (?)

    We can thank God for the wrong reasons. If I thank Him because something bad happened to someone I dislike, yeah, that is the wrong reason.

    But thanking Him for the simple pleasures of life? That is a called gratitude.

    • #16
  17. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    Thankfulness is one of the few (only?) habits for which there is no downside.

    Do you think we can thank G-d for the wrong reasons, though, Jim? I’m not sure that I do, but I can’t help wondering if I don’t say thanks to Him so often so that I’ll have Him on my good side! But then, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. (?)

    Maybe blame Him when we don’t wish to accept our responsibility?

    • #17
  18. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):
    It’s hard to remember to be grateful for the sore leg too.

    Now that is interesting. You were suggesting that I be grateful for the soreness? I’ll have to think that one over! Thanks for the kind words.

    I think what I was going for here is the thing I learn reading C.S. Lewis. That thankfulness to God isn’t for doing nice things for us – when we’ve won a race, or found our car keys, or just missed a car accident. Thankfulness is for our existence, for our comprehension of God and our apprehension of our true nature, in the face of all the distractions of material life. Our thankfulness is or should be constant, expressing and acknowledging the wonder and beauty of sore legs and healed legs, the stark reality of nature when we are freezing cold and watching our breath while out for a hike in winter, and the mystery of the lovely heat from burning logs in the fireplace later when we are safe at home. It’s all amazing, and quite outside of our control to create or order.

    Something like that.  But you all know waaay more about this kind of thing than I do. I am just an ordinary sinner.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):
    Something like that.  But you all know waaay more about this kind of thing than I do. I am just an ordinary sinner.

    Oh no I don’t!! Of course, you and C.S. Lewis are correct, and you said it beautifully. Reminders that we are alive, in whatever form they appear, are truly gifts, aren’t they? Thanks for your comment.

    • #19
  20. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Monty Python made this to be funny, but I’ve always thought it makes a very profound point about God, nature, human judgement, human delusion, and thankfulness.

    God made everything. He brought us here to experience it. If you get too carried away with the convenient and comfortable, and too fearful and avoiding and shutting out of the inconvenient and uncomfortable, you are missing out on the most interesting things about the experience of each.

    And forgetting that, in the end, neither of them are important, or the point. They can be very effective traps, though.

    I hope I don’t sound sanctimonious or something – I am the worst at remembering this. Blame C.S. Lewis for being profound! ;-)

    • #20
  21. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    All relationships have this central feature: the more you both invest in that relationshop, the greater the risks and the greater the rewards.

    I, too, put G-d in the middle of my world, because I want Him involved in everything I possibly can. I have not chosen the safe path; I feel able to strike out in new directions only because I know G-d is with me. 

    Thank G-d.

    • #21
  22. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    We’re inseparable. Your gratitude and prayer is energy that at once lifts you (in His image, after all) and exaltation that empowers, as here, so above (and vice versa). So, without getting too theological about it, it is a boost to you and to the force that moves the world. It is a good thing.

    • #22
  23. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    My immediate reaction to the title, “Do I thank G-d Too Often?” was an emphatic “NO.”  I have clients who come from a strong religious background.  I have on occasion asked if they would like to pray.  I have always found that to be helpful to them.

    Before I have hearings, I will often pray myself, not to “win” but to do a good job, and that the best interests of all concerned be promoted.

    • #23
  24. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Susan Quinn:

    Do I Thank G-d Too Often?

    No.

    • #24
  25. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    I know that you aren’t a disciple of Christ: Nevertheless I suggest you might consider the story of this friend of mine that died some eight years ago at the age of 57. He quotes from the Psalms in it. He was bedridden for all the years I knew him.

    • #25
  26. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    No. See also Percival’s comment. 

    • #26
  27. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Gratitude is the key to unlocking Divine Love.

    • #27
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Gratitude is the key to unlocking Divine Love.

    “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of G-d.”

    That’s probably G-d talking in a shorter Tanakh prophet book in the 1984 NIV translation.

    Anyway, it’s in my head. And it’s from some Bible verse somewhere.

    • #28
  29. hoowitts Coolidge
    hoowitts
    @hoowitts

    It is one of the most difficult things, I dare say impossible yet we must try, is attempting to see us through His ‘eyes’. Otherwise our insignificance is simply too overwhelming. His promise is there are no little people; created in His image inherently means our value is beyond our scope. There isn’t enough gratitude available to adequately express our dependence on G-d. And this paradox, that our strength comes from our dependence on Him, is what I think you are bumping up against. I’m right there with you and in short:

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn:

    Do I Thank G-d Too Often?

    No.

    I found Francis Schaeffer’s No Little People ‘by chance’ on a pastor’s moving out bookshelf and this has stuck with me ever since:

    • #29
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