Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Most Ungrateful Heart

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net



Philippians 4: 6 (NIV) says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." 

Awhile ago the editor of live magazine asked its writers to submit a piece about gratitude for an upcoming issue. But, gratitude was the furthest emotion from my heart at that time. It was also a distant thought from my mind. 

How can that be you might be wondering? Couldn't I think of anything for which I could say, "Thank you, Lord." 

I honestly couldn't. It wasn't because I had nothing to be thankful for; it's just that my heart and head were not in possession of the right attitude. A nagging, negative spirit was threatening to consume me.

I had a list of complaints and disappointments, number of expectations that I wanted God to do. Requests which I wanted God to meet. Gratitude hadn't even made it on the "To Do" list because I was too busy filling it with my expectations of what I felt needed to be done. 


Then the request came again. More contributions were needed for the issue of live that would discuss thankfulness and gratitude. Could I write something for the issue? 

Would I be able to dig down and grapple for thankfulness in this rebellious heart of mine? 

Would the readers of live appreciate my honesty? What if I admitted to them (and the editor) that I have been struggling with gratitude? Would any of them relate? 

Would they like to know how this most ungrateful heart of mine turned and became a grateful heart? 

Perhaps some of them have also struggled with gratitude and thankfulness in our messy world and in their lives. Perhaps like me, they have spent too much time adding to their list of complaints and suggestions and too little time on thankfulness. 

Philippians 4: 6, quoted above is a reminder of the correct way to offer up thankfulness. It begins by telling us to not worry or be anxious about anything. My growing list of complaints was the outpouring of my worry. 

The biggest complaint being our financial situation. "Haven't we struggled long enough Lord?"

Naturally, there wasn't room for thanksgiving because I was spending my time worrying and despairing. I couldn't see beyond any of it. Sure, I was praying and petitioning God but I was making a lot of noise without vocalizing gratitude while requesting that God make certain alterations in my life. 


Image courtesy of JennyEBur a view off the deck of the family cottage.



I didn't want to keep griping and nagging. I truly did want to be thankful so I cried out in desperation, "Lord, help me to be thankful for just one thing today." Before I realized what I was writing in my prayer journal that day, these words appeared. "Thank you for a sunny day."  

Being thankful was the key to change. Although the circumstances had not been altered, my heart and mind had.

That was the beginning of the end of a most ungrateful heart. Just expressing my gratitude for a sunny day released me from my complaints and ingratitude. Refocusing on God and his blessings lifted my "To Do List"  and altered it to becoming a "To Be Thankful List."    

Dear reader, live magazine really is written without any capital letters. It is a Baptist resource for women on a mission and was formerly known as The Link and Visitor. 

Your turn. Have you had an ungrateful heart? If so, what helped you to become thankful? Feel free to leave a comment and become a follower of By His Grace.

Other posts which may interest you:
When Plans Go Amuck Again and Again
When Plans Go Amuck 
When Everyone Thinks You're Crazy