Last year I shared this study and it changed me. I feel so compelled to do this again with you. Thank you for joining me in this 21-day adventure to Living a Life of Thank You. ~ Suzie
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 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 describes 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.
Now, can we be honest? Sharing our struggle might feel like we are giving way to negativity. After all, we are told that we should speak only good things, which actually can feel like pushing down our real thoughts just to say words that make others feel better.
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.
Just last week I shared something with a group of friends. I felt vulnerable doing it, and honestly it didn’t land like I thought it would. There’s been a temptation to carry this around ever since. I’ve wondered if I did the wrong thing or if I should have said it differently.
When I honestly look at my feelings and the source of them, it allows me to invite the Lord into those feelings with me.
And he reminds me that I was with people who love me. They know me and they know my heart. And that their opinions matter too. If they don’t see it the way I do, there’s value in the conversation.
[bctt tweet=”God never asked me to push my feelings down. Instead, he will help me examine them and lead me into truth. #ComeWithMe #21dayadventure” username=”@suzanneeller”]
Uncertainty can be 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.
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
- Obsessing over what someone said or didn’t say
- Apathy; unable to see that others have less
- Self-focus; your feelings, your needs, your right-now wants w/o seeing others
- Critical of self or others
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.
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.
[bctt tweet=”The power of the Spirit within us has already set us free. We have what we need to move in a life-giving direction. #ComeWithMe” username=”@suzanneeller”]
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: Be honest with God about your feelings. He already knows. Then invite him into the midst of them. Ask him to show you what you might not see.
Day #2 of Living a Live of Thank You
Living free together: Speak the truth, especially to ourselves but always to God.
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 most negative. Hold that up to the Lord. Make a plan.
This is my plan: When I feel tempted to nurture uncertainty, I acknowledge it to God without guilt. I thank God that He’s in the battle with me and that he can show me what I cannot see.
Take one step: Be truthful. If truth is painful, weigh it. Present it to God. Ask for wisdom.
(Living a Life of Thank You is one chapter in this book that helps you follow Jesus daily, and discover the freedom he offers.)
Suzie, I admire and I am grateful for your open heart and raw honesty. As you pour out your thoughts of “realness”, you open the door for safety for each of us. Thank you. For me and my ungrateful heart-soul I am sad to say I have a critical spirit at times. I might not always verbilize my thoughts of criticism, but it seeps out eventually over the ones I love the most. I wrestle with this daily. I am learning to try to pour truth over the negative, ungrateful stronghold with music and/or scripture but the hold is powerful at times. Yesterday, I took a walk with my dog and was talking out loud pushing the Liar out of my thoughts. Happy to report no one saw or heard me talking to myself, 😉. Your words soothe my heart, Suzie. They remind me I am not alone. ❤️
I often talk to God while I walk. : )
I tend to linger in pits of anxiety or depression and feeling unlikable or not worth knowing. Surrounding myself with truth and reminders of His love and care calm my heart. Thank you for sharing, Suzie.
Thank you, Suzie, for sharing these “pits of unthankfulness.” If we are aware of them and see them, we can take a detour towards our Redeemer.
My out is self comparison. Then insecurities and I hate the insecurities. It not only affects my behavior but it affects the people around me. It’s a vicious cycle one i want to break. Thank you Suzie for sharing this.
Suppose to be my pit not out.
I knew what you were saying. : ) Grace, grace, grace, JR. <3 I pray that you begin to see yourself the way that God does. That his truth about your identity soaks in to every wound, to every past hurt, to every fresh and insecure thought, and when you look in the mirror you see a woman who reflects a daughter of the most high God.
My pit is uncertainty and comparison. I am fearful of what my future holds. I want to trust in God with all my heart so the uncertainty goes away. I try to be thankful everyday for what I have and not dwell on the past and what I’ve lost. Please pray for me.
Praying for you. Please don’t be fearful of your future. God has goodness, mercy, love, and wonderment in store for you. But right now he is only going to give you little steps one at a time. I am taking little steps too. I am learning to trust in the little steps because they build.
Father, I stand shoulder to shoulder with Miss today. Show her the miracles of today. Pour out joy over this daughter’s heart in a fresh new way. In Jesus’ name.
My self-righteous spirit blinds me to see that I’m in a pit… Just yesterday I had to pray myself out of that pit because I was not only negative myself, but started spreading it all around me. So grateful for Romans 8:1. God forgives! And he doesn’t condemn!
My pit is the words that I speak to my husband and to others. God is convicting me on this. My mom has spoken harsh words to me my whole life and I am now her caregiver. Hearing those words forever has rubbed off on me and I am working with God to change this in me. I truly am thankful for so much but my words don’t always reflect that.
Jody, praying for you today as you hold up all the words spoken over your life that hold no value compared to the immense love of Jesus. You are loved. You are his. You are worthy, because he has made you worthy. May the words of your mouth begin to reflect that truth in every way, beginning with the words you speak over your own life. I love how you are reaching for all that God has for you. That is faith. That is bravery!
My pit is fear and anxiety brought on by my want to control the future (uncertainty).
Father, thank you for Denise and her heart to serve you. You have her future in your hands. Her role is to simply follow you daily. Accept your love daily. Listen for your voice daily, and respond. You’ve go the rest, and we are grateful for that. Ease these anxious thoughts with your healing touch. In Jesus’ name, amen.
My pit is discontentment. It’s not necessarily that I’m wanting more of something (but to be truthful there’s always a hint of that), it’s that we have felt called to a place for years, and have yet to really hear God say, “Go now.” We’re in a place of constant transition, constant uncertainty, and mistakes. Our crossroads has become more confusing as we ponder whether or not to stay, simply because our once emotionally unstable teen is now in a really good place. It’s an exhausting battle of watching set goals pass by, and being grateful that she’s in a different place mentally and emotionally. Spiritually, however, we’re all drained.
Lord, help me find peace with where you have us. Remind me of the lessons you have taught us in this place. You are faithful.
Some of the best work is created in the hardest places. Write that book where you are. Create that ministry or dream where you are. It’s not tied to a place, or a job, or a season. It’s tied to you and it will go with you when the time does come. Love you big, Crystal!
Wow, how this spoke to me again this morning!
I was reminded of my husband looking at some OLD slides (Maybe 7 decades old?) trying to make out the faces. Once he put them in front of a light bulb, they came to life! Clear, bright, focused.
When you “hold your heart up to the Holy Spirit”, he reveals everything! We can’t hide our sins in the shadows. We are focused on him instead of ourselves.
I know I’m least grateful when my focus is off of him.
Thank you for your powerful words!
I love that analogy. Why would we want to hide it in the shadows, if his response is no condemnation and “we’ve got this!” Thank you for dropping in, Barb!
I always know God is doing deep work in me when I feel tired after reading your posts!
As many things as there are to do in a day and as much energy as all those things take, it is most tiring to face the truth about one’s self.
This study is already helping me do that. I am on a precipice in so many areas of my life, and the decisions I make over the next few weeks will chart my course for years. This study is timed perfectly. But, of course it is right? Thank you God. And thank you Suzie for being his messenger.
Shelly, I pray you are energized by the possibilities of what God is doing inside of you. For new joy. For a renewed outlook. I love your honesty and your courage!
Beautiful light-filled post. I am impatient. If I let God work through my impatience, I’ll see that I can be grateful for even having the opportunity.
Impatient about the housework – I’m grateful I have a home (not a house, a home).
Impatient about the book proposal – I’m grateful I’ve made it this far.
Impatient about the matters at work – I’m grateful to have a job to help support my family.
Impatient about getting anywhere on time – I’m grateful we can do it together.
Love today’s post. It’s really stirring my heart. <3
I’m so focused on the problem in my life that it is consuming everything else. I let the fact that my husband left me consume every part of my day, and let the fear that he is going to file for divorce dominate my prayers. I try to make it point to start my prayer every morning by thanking God for something, and most of the time its just for the new day and my beautiful healthy children (what a blessing that is). I still find myself focused on uncertainty of the future. I wish I could get to place of peace, but I know there will be more problems. I need to be thankful regardless of the problem and the magnitude of it.
I just finished a devotional, and I want to share the heart of it with you. Your fear of the future doesn’t make you unthankful. It makes you human. When the disciples were afraid (in John 20:19-20), he didn’t rebuke them. He spoke peace over them. He asked them to come close and to touch his wounds. It’s not about what you do, sweet Chanda, but what Jesus will do for you in this place of uncertainty. I hear a woman of faith and courage reaching for Jesus every morning. I celebrate that act of faith with you, for it is strong! You are strong.
I know where you are. My husband is having memory problems and it breaks my heart, I am consumed with it ,can’t focus on anything else but I know God is good and only he can get us through this. I don’t know what the future holds but He does. I pray for peace every day.
I pray God brings your husband healing, and gives you both strength. May God fill you with His peace and comfort.
My pit is being task-driven when deadlines loom. I rationalize that I’ll go back and explain and be nice tomorrow, when I finish this task. It has caused me to be short with my children and husband at times. Now that I am in a different place, I need a different plan. When I feel tempted to nurture tasks at the expense of people, I give those I love permission to point it out and will acknowledge the need to succeed as an idol. I will renounce it and trust God that He does all things well. My trust is in His ability to help me finish while I care for those around me.
So glad I came here today. (Read yesterday’s post too.) I think my pit is being self-centered, seeing everything and everyone as they revolve around me. I’ve had a hard time with a relationship lately, I think because I’m making it all about me! I need to give thanks for this person and how God is using our relationship to change me, shape me!
Punch 1 yesterday, punch 2 today! My pit showed up yesterday. I was surprised that a devotional I had submitted months ago and had forgotten about was the featured devotional in the email yesterday. A first for me and I couldn’t wait for my best friend to read it. All day I sent her texts to read her email. At 9:30 last night she finally said what email. Her email had changed, so she wasn’t getting the email. I had already fallen into the pit. I needed her recognization of this success so I could feel important, have a celebration with her, and feel loved. I had prayed a thank you why wasn’t that enough? Why am I crying now? My history was the performance to gain love. It took a long time to pull myself out of that dark hole. Here it is again.
The question ““Our greatest heart work begins where we are the least thankful.” Yes, I can see that now. I am grateful to you Suzie you encouraged me to dig a little deeper. I stopped praising and seeking God, to gain celebration with my friend. I was disappointed and even told her it didn’t matter anymore. But it did. She is my person. We pray and worship together frequently. I could feel Satan trying to take away my joy; because I had started slipping into the pit
This is insightful!
My pit is feeling unloved. I have a hard time loving myself and believing others love me, including God. I can see Him working in and through me, yet the I continue to put myself down. I know that I am a new creation in Him yet the lies of the past continue to haunt me. I am going to start thanking God daily for the transformation that lies
I think my put is fear and anxiety. life is stressful and you Never know what will come next. that is very scary for me.
My pit is feeling unloved, unworthy, rejected. I know better but when life gets hard I fall back every time. I also have the tendency to nurture uncertainty, so to that I say “me too”.
My pit is worry and anxiety over what’s ahead. Worrying that another awful surprise is around the bend. The enemy can make me see the scary or negative in every good thing that happens, or each happy moment. I’m exhausted! And frustrated with myself!
My pit is barrenness. It is a literal pit. A woman’s womb is designed to carry children, and mine is empty, like a pit. My arms are empty. Part of my heart is empty. I am a subscriber of the First 5 app, and yesterday, our study was of I Samuel chapter 1, Hannah’s story. It was a difficult study for me, because tied to my pit of barrenness are the pits of brokenness and bitterness. I am walking in Hannah’s shoes. I have cried out to God to heal my womb and bless me with children. My husband’s ex-wife delights in reminding me that SHE is the mother of his child, and I am not a mother and therefore have nothing useful to contribute to the rearing of THEIR child. I love my step-daughter with all of my heart, but to her, I am JUST her step-mom. Whenever my step-daughter is with us, I feel like I don’t belong, like I’m an interloper. So, I guess there’s another pit: insecurity. My husband and I have been together over 7 years, married for 6, and I have never felt like the 3 of us have formed a cohesive unit. I guess I’m living in an even deeper pit than I realized….
Praying for you, Alicia. Thank you for sharing such a tender, raw part of your life with us. I watched as my daughter walked through infertility for the same number of years as you. It’s a silent, hard path, and sometimes the things people say make it even harder. I’m reaching with a hug for you, woman to woman. I’m praying for you. Today my daughter is the mom of two beautiful little guys who came to us through adoption. They make this Gaga’s heart happy. I can’t imagine life without them. Praying with and for you.
My pit is being worthless, rejected, and comparison. I fight hard to prove myself to others. I try so hard to prove the lies told about me and my past are untrue.
Great post today. My pit is insecurity. Not an uncommon one and some days the walls of my pit feel as if they are closing in on me.
I am so thankful that my Father loves me just as I am.
My pit is my complaining. Recently diagnosed with Lupus, I say that I am thankful, but as I reflect I complain about the amount of medicine I take instead of praising God that it is keeping me out of the hospital. I complain about the number of doctor visits I have and the cost of the co-pays instead of being thankful that I have a doctor who I can get to who has the ability to treat me. As I read through Day #2 and reflected, all of the things I complain about came bubbling to the surface. Thank you Suzie for helping me acknowledge my complaints so that I may now stop them before they surface and replace them with statements of thanks!
My pit is being stuck what could have been with my husband John, also feeling guilty over feeling bored at times with my life, before we found out my husband had lung cancer. It went so very fast, we saw the spot on Nov 11 he had surgery on Dec 17 the 18 he was gone, yes also what if we had a second opinion, or waited until after Christmas, like my husband expressed until his friend pointed out we would have to pay another deductable, it is hard to let these thoughts go especially when I am tired, and my son is being a chalange and life is being life. I am enjoying this 21 day adventure, to healing and growth for myself.
My pit is discontent with my self, my body image and also with aspects of my life, thinking things would be perfect if only this changed!
Thanks for this study, especially the weekly one with all the links on together, really helped to go back and re focus. I love that we are all together in Christ even though don’t physically know one another.
Me too, Helen!
As I read Romans 7:15 the word “instead” is highlighted. So, I prayed to the Holy Spirit to show me my instead. I have to say one of my biggest “instead” is fear. The pit of fear pushes out His freedom. Then I turn to Romans 8:1-2 and the words, “So now” is a charge for my next steps, “the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you…” The same Power that raised Jesus dwells within me and loves me out of the pit. ❤️
Thank you, Suzie, for your steps of faithfulness and following our Savior. I am grateful for you.
This is really a scary challenge for me to admit but my pit, my lie from the deceiver that wants me to fall into this pit and stay there is that what I say does not matter and no one REALLY cares about me. I have no face to face tribe. As I have been contemplating my surgery next week, a little voice keeps whispering “just you and Bill-no one else will show up to help-they don’t really care” but they DO care. There, I said it outloud, the enemy has no power over me. Greater is HE that is in me than he that is in the world!! Already a friend has texted saying she and her husband will bring dinner on the day I am released-Thanksgiving-and they would not do that if I did not matter.
My pit is allowing fear of what might happen or allowing my concern over the possibilities of what could happen override what I ‘know’. What I know in my head is that God’s got it under control but my heart can quickly go to fear or worry. Thanks for today’s insight. I am declaring that fear/worry is not from God and I when I start down that mental path to stop and rehearse what I know: God is The Creator, He is in control of everything concerning me, He is faithful, trustworthy, compassionate, present, sees me, loves me, knows me. I praise You, Father, for showing me my pit. And for giving me Your strength & encouragement to climb out of it as I realign my human tendency to fear/worry with the reality that You are for me, not against me and You are walking with me each step out of this pit!
Thankful for your 21 Day Thankful Challenge Suzanne!
My pit is that people intentionally do things to hurt my feelings, and make me feel like I don’t belong. That people don’t talk to me because they don’t like, and they don’t want to include me. That people don’t take my feelings into consideration because they just don’t care about me. This also makes me feel like most people are selfish because they only think about how their decision will affect them, and not other people involved. I struggle with this because I spend so much time trying to make sure everyone is happy, and trying not to hurt or exclude anyone.
Chanda, the pits you describe are about what others do and that is their pit. It sounds like their are people who have pits of inconsideration, or pits where they are uninsightful. Putting them all aside, what might be your pit? Let’s take this deeper.
I do not like where I’ve been called to live. It can turn into an abusive/toxic environment really quick. I’m finding my voice. Finding an holding up my boundaries slowly. Learning forgiveness. I’m very certain it’s been a calling to live here. But I can go into an ungrateful, whining person quickly when I’m tired of being here. I’m not content with my life. But God. He’s done so very much and blessed me so very much. I have a habit of looking at what I don’t have instead of what he’s done.
My pit is composed of a multitude of things but boils down to complacency (laziness). My diabetes is out of control and keeps me tired. I need to focus on eating better and moving more but I just can’t seem to find the energy or the “want to”. My devotional time is lacking devotion. I need to schedule my time with God first. But am so tired that I sleep in instead and then try to find time later. Father, thank You for creating me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know it is Your desire for me to take care of this precious treasure (my body) that You have given me. Renew the desire in me to spend time with You early in the morning. Thank You for Your precious Word. May I devour it instead of chocolate. Make me thirsty for physical water and for the Water of Life. Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation. Thank You for Your indescribable gift of Jesus Christ. In His blessed and powerful name I pray. AMEN.
I believe right now my pit would be uncertainty and doubt. I see my circumstances which are far less than ideal and I have these great and precious promises…but I can’t make it happen. Its up to God. But I try to figure out how it will happen and begin to spiral in doubt, uncertainty, trying to control all the things and end up less than peaceful. I wind up frustrated, disappointed and not very thankful.