I’m not a naturally grateful person. I don’t know if anyone is. Perhaps there are a few people out there blessed with a natural affinity for gratefulness, but if there are, I am definitely not one of them. By nature, I am quite content to blame God and others for my problems, and be sure that everyone around me knows of all my afflictions. “I’m tired.” “I’m hungry.” “I’m cold.” “I’m broke.” “I hate work.” “I just wish it were summer.” When I write it like that, it looks very much like the broken statements of a toddler. Me, me, me. I want, I want, I want. Life is about me.
Last week, I read a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss entitled, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey To Joy. Read this book. I probably don’t need to say more, but if you didn’t get the idea, here are a few quotes from the book:
“It is only by recognizing that our blessings have a single source–a real, personal, living, and loving Giver–that gratitude begins its transformation into authentic, Christian gratitude: recognizing and expressing appreciation for the benefits we have received from God and others.”
“A grateful heart is God-centered and others-conscious, while an ungrateful person is self-centered and self-conscious.”
“I don’t want you to be destroyed by the inevitable downturns of life–with no answer for the darts of unfair, unpleasant circumstances–a walking bull’s eye, just waiting for the next arrow to be shot in your direction. I want you to find the God-given reserve to stand strong in the midst of confusing, condemning onslaughts of opposition. I want your head up, lifted by the empowering Spirit of God within you, even when everything else within you is calling for a week in bed with the lights and out and the blinds drawn. I want your story to be rewritten into a tale of God’s grace, one that He uses to help you be an effective minister of His hope and healing to those who are walking the same kind of path. I want you to be so available to His Spirit’s leading, so aware of others’ needs, and so willing to be open and genuine, that God takes the things Satan meant for evil and transforms them into things of value….no matter who you are, where you’ve been, or what’s happened to you along the way, you can be changed into a person who’s known and marked by gratitude. God can do it in you.”
I did not become a grateful person overnight just by reading this book. But my eyes were opened to my overwhelming lack of gratitude–and my overwhelming sin of selfishness. It is my prayer that God would work in my heart to take my eyes off of myself and onto Him and others, creating in my a spirit of gratefulness. It is my resolution to make daily choices to embrace gratitude. Do I fail? Most definitely. I failed this weekend, coming home from work dejected and defeated–ready to give it all up in the name of selfishness–all because the hours I had been given didn’t fit with my schedule, when I should have been overjoyed and grateful that I had been given extra hours just when I needed money the most. Yet even in my failures, God is strong, and there is grace to get back up and keep moving forwards towards gratefulness and joy in the Lord.