In a country where we have an overwhelming amount for which to be thankful (no dangling preposition here thanks to my grandmother’s voice in my head), I find myself increasingly un-thankful. Just spending any small amount of time watching TV, perusing Facebook, pinning on Pinterest, and stepping outside of my house is slowly eating away at any grateful spirit that I had cultivated. Whether it is new clothes, house furnishings, thinner legs, or a different stage in life; I always have something I would rather have or somewhere I would rather be.
And those things are not BAD; that’s not what I’m saying. No, the only wrong here is my own response to what I see or what I desire. And lately, my response has not been contentment. It has not been a desire to be used by God in the here and now. And it has certainly not been gratitude.
I think it has to come back to the little stuff. I can make an overarching statement of the things I am thankful for: health, husband, home, family, salvation, but when those little [big] extras come up, it doesn’t really help to think about how thankful I am for my health.
Let me demonstrate with brown leather boots; flat, chunky, wear with jeans, essence of fall boots. They are all over Pinterest. They are on all sorts of people’s feet. They are in pictures, in stores, and I love them. They aren’t a necessity right now and I can’t justify buying a pair (since I rarely even wear jeans nowadays). But my immediate reaction has been to [inwardly] pout because I don’t have them. Instead of this wrong response, I should put on gratefulness.
So, is this where I start thinking through the list things in which to be thankful: house, car, heater, husband, family, etc? I don’t find that helps much. But, what about if I am grateful over something applicable to this instance? “I already own a pair of black, brown & gray boots. Ones that I love and I wear often because they are more work appropriate. Thank you Lord, for allowing me to have stylish clothes that I need for my job.”
I still love those boots. I even want them. But I’m learning to not sin in my response of not getting them right now. I am finding that this allows me to learn to be thankful, to not be swallowed up in my discontentment, and frees me to be excited for others that have things I want.
There are much bigger things in my life where I have noticed discontentment and ungratefulness; boots are just a simple example. But I am hoping that by slowly learning to put a relevant thankful thought in the place of an ugly one, and with the Holy Spirit’s diligent prodding of my heart, I can train my heart and mind to be one of gratefulness and joy.
So, what better time of the year to confess my sinful thoughts and actions to the Lord and really work on cultivating a spirit of gratitude? Because let's face it; a life of thanks-giving is much more happy than a life of me-giving.