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.God never asked me to push my feelings down. Instead, he will help me examine them and lead me into truth. #ComeWithMe #21dayadventure Click To Tweet
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.
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.)