Thanksgiving and Gratitude

grat·i·tude  [grat-i-tood, -tyood]
the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.

Gratitude . . . hmmm.  Gratitude, thankfulness, cheer, joy; all of these have one thing in common.  These are traits that have slowly faded as I have become bogged down with the weight of “real life” and becoming an adult.  I would even argue that I have become so analytical and cynical that it’s hard for me to enjoy much of anything without first having to scrutinize every last detail.  It’s not that I want to be this way.  Somewhere in my quest to discover who I am, in my journey to find what’s right for my family, I have pushed out these important traits in an effort to do everything right. I get frustrated when I am not treated right.  I rant when the minutest nuance of a topic isn’t presented right.  I won’t rest until a project is completed right. Just look at the categories on the side of my blog to get an idea of all the things I want to do right.

It’s funny because among all the changes I wouldn’t think of myself as becoming prideful, yet, according to Nancy Leigh DeMoss, in her book Choosing Gratitude, that’s just what I’ve become, prideful.

“Gratitude is the overflow of a humble heart, just as surely as an ungrateful, complaining spirit flows out of a proud heart. Proud people are wrapped up in themselves . . . humble people are wrapped up in Christ “

Ouch, when I read that one it stung. But I like people.  I want to help people – am I really wrapped up in myself?  After prayerfully considering this question, my answer was a resounding and depressing . . . yes. I have become like the Pharisees, so wrapped up in living my life right that I have lost sight of God’s blessings.  Instead of enjoying time with others I often return frustrated by all the things that aren’t being done right. Instead of looking at the blessings I receive in a day I tend to only see the things that didn’t happen right. It’s terribly sad; and while this reality almost hurts, I’m so glad I’ve come to see my true reflection now so that I can allow God to work in me to make changes before Samuel is old enough to pick up on my ungrateful, complaining and bitter spirit.

So, today I start fresh and new.  It’s okay to share my disappointments, but where is my focus? My focus must be on Christ – on the gifts He gives me and on His children whom He loves so much.  Will you join me?  This Thanksgiving will you choose a life of gratitude?

”You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.”
Psalm 30:11-12

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