Do you think that Christians are a people that are known for their spirit of gratitude?
I confess that if they are, I’m not one of the spokespeople! 😦
However, perhaps for the first time, I genuinely want to be.
Recently, I met with a woman from my church who mentors me. She made a point of spending some time outdoors at our local beach and offering up thanks to the Lord for what He is doing and what He has done. There was such a spirit of gratitude, trust, and humility in her. I have a deep respect for her because I know that although her life is certainly blessed, it hasn’t been easy. Still, her inclination is to have hope and to make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
About a week later, I came across a new book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called Choosing Gratitude. Gulp. Oh, Lord…I murmured inwardly…I see a theme coming, but you know better than anyone that gratitude is a great deficiency in my life. Sure, I’m ok at pleasantries…telling folks thank you and writing thank you notes…but actually having a heart of gratitude…er…think again.
When I hear remarks about how I should be grateful for such and such, I get this horrible lump in my throat. I can’t quite choke past the ‘should.’ This overwhelming sense that if I was really a good Christian, I would will myself to be grateful under all circumstances. It sounds like this burdensome chore to me that I’m supposed to grin and bear and act like I love it and yet somehow not appear to be pretending.
There’s good news. Well meaning Christians might make comments like this, but God doesn’t heap tasks on us that we ‘should’ do and then put the burden on us to make it happen and make Him look good while we’re doing it. For that, I can say…I’m grateful! 🙂 There’s hope of becoming a grateful person because as we submit ourselves to Him and His work, He takes the burden and He transforms us into people with His heart. So, when I go to Him and say, wow, I blow it in this area over and over and…(you get the point)…in His time, He can refine me no matter how far off I am from where He intends me to be.
This week, I want to elaborate a bit about gratitude, what scripture teaches about gratitude, and how we can practice gratitude in the midst of all kinds of circumstances. I welcome you to join me in these posts and, feel free to share your own recommendations, too!