I fall short all the time.
Do you fall short in the area of thankfulness?
We all do.
We want to be thankful. We wish that we were thankful. And yet we continually fall into a pit of unthankfulness.
Perhaps it’s a critical spirit. Complaining. Wishing, wishing, wishing for what we don’t have, while forgetting to appreciate what we do have. Finding ourselves so busy that we don’t have time to breathe, much less say thank you.
We climb out of that pit, and then turn around and jump back in. It’s exhausting!
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:15 (NLT)
In Romans 7, Paul described the battle that takes place in all of us, whether that is being thankful or another battleground.
Naming our struggle
On Day #2 of Living a Live of Thank You, we are going to shine a light on our struggle. You see, we often point at everything else.
Her. Him. Our schedule. That problem. That child. That issue. That job. That church. That neighbor.
If we could wave a magic wand and fix everything and everyone else, but our heart still needs repair, the problem is still there.
I’ve been holding up my heart to the Holy Spirit, asking him to reveal where God wants to grow me, so that I can greater live a life of thank you.
Here’s what I found: I sometimes nurture uncertainty.
This is my temptation. It’s where I struggle with gratitude. When I nurture uncertainty, gratitude takes a seat on the bench. I begin to focus on the obstacles instead of the right-now miracles. I become so fixated on the finish line, I forget to enjoy the race.I can become so fixated on the finish line that I forget to enjoy the race. #ComeWithMe… Click To Tweet
This is my pit.
Like Paul, it’s where I am tempted to go, even though it’s the last place I want to be. It’s my sin nature. It’s what I’m inclined to do in my flesh, even when I see the fallout from it.
Not too long ago I shared that God had answered a prayer for our family. That answered prayer introduced risks. New challenges. Lots and lots of uncertainty. There’s nothing wrong with being cautious, or admitting that something is scary. But I was nurturing uncertainty. The more I thought about it, the more I dropped, leaped, and slam dunked into a pit of thanklessness.
It didn’t just affect me. It spilled out on those around me.
How do we know if we are slipping into a pit of ingratitude?
Here are some common signs of unthankfulness:
- Jealousy or covetousness
- Always wanting more; discontentment
- Taking for granted what we have; unwilling to share; discounting the value of what we have
- Taking for granted who we have — put things above them in priority; treating them poorly; making promises we don’t keep
- Unkindness, rudeness, impatience
- Apathy; unable to see that others have less
- Self-focused; it all revolves around you, your feelings, your needs, your right-now wants
- Critical of self or others
Just seeing these make me cringe.
I don’t want any of these to define me, and I know you don’t want them to define you.
While Paul spent a lot of time in Romans 7 sharing his battle, he turns it around in Romans 8.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)
This is where we climb out of that pit. Two important truths:
1. There’s no condemnation
2. The power of the life-giving Spirit has already freed us
WE FALL SHORT.
Yes, we do. Yes, we will.
There’s no condemnation for that. That’s why we are looking honestly at where we are least thankful. We are looking at that “pit” and calling it what it is. This frees us to hold up our heart ailments to God. If God is trying to do a miracle in me, I don’t have time to wallow in condemnation, especially when God’s not handing it out.
There’s transformation ahead.
This is the second bit of good news.
The power of the Spirit who lives within us has already set us free.
We have what we need to move in a life-giving direction. When I hold up my “pit” to him, he delights in it, because God has known all along that I have victory over it.
This turns a “pit” into a promise. We will struggle with unthankfulness, but we are free to grow through it.
What is your pit?
Feel free to share here. Write it in your journal. Tell a trusted friend, so that when you start that way, they’ll speak truth to you when you need it most.
Invite the Holy Spirit to show you those pits you’ve climbed in over and over. It might even feel safe, like a bunker. Be honest about the damage it does.
Here’s our first Living a Life of Thank You challenge: Thank God for the transformation that lies ahead.
Day #2 of Living a Live of Thank You
Living free together: Speak the truth, especially to ourselves.
Scripture: If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (NASB) John 8:32
Q: What is your pit? That one thing you hate, but it’s instinctive. It’s your go-to.
Q: “Our greatest heart work begins where we are the least thankful.” What is your response to this quote?
- Once you know where we are least thankful, write it down. Hold that up to the Lord. Make a plan.
This is my plan: When I feel tempted to nurture uncertainty, I acknowledge the fear without guilt. I thank God that He’s in the battle with me.
Take one step: Be truthful. If truth is painful, weigh it. Present it to God. Ask for wisdom.