(Yes, it is Canadian thanksgiving today!)
Last week we talked about growing a thankful heart. So, I wanted to write a list of thankfulness today. It seemed to be the appropriate theme for the day.
However, the more I thought about it and prayed, I realized that the Lord has actually been reminding me of all the ways I haven’t been thankful lately.
So here’s the confessions of a grumbling heart.
“Grumbling and gratitude are, for the child of God, in conflict. Be grateful and you won’t grumble. Grumble and you won’t be grateful” -Billy Graham
With thanksgiving at hand, I feel like we “should” be thankful, after all a Christian is always full of joy and gratitude…right?
Gratitude. Not so much when there’s toys scattered across the floor, clean laundry shoved in the corner of the closet, or tools stacked on top of my freezer.
My heart grumbles.
There’s complaints about wearing masks everywhere you go, at work there’s frustrations about the waiting times in ER, at the store there’s someone yelling at the cashier.
My heart grumbles more.
Once the grumbling begins, it’s like a storm in the distance. Faraway, the faint rolls of thunder rumble, gradually getting louder, until dark clouds blanket the sky, it’s roars shaking the house.
I can feel that rumbling begin in my soul, and start to get louder…
I want to justify my own complaints: I don’t have time for this, or why can’t life be simpler? This year has just been hard, keeping up with changes and new policies and figuring out regular life.
While my nature excuses away it away, the Lord sure doesn’t.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Phil 2:14)
All things. It’s interesting how quickly I can quote this scripture to my arguing children, yet forget the storm brewing inside my own soul. Perhaps it’s because the rumbles are quietly hidden in my heart so they go less noticed. But it’s certainly reflected in my responses and my attitudes.
What causes all my complaints in the first place?
I don’t want to take the time to clean-up what’s in front of me. I want everyone to pick up after themselves. (That’s not too much to ask, is it?)
But rather than bending a knee to gather the toys, or taking a minute to gather empathy for a disgruntled patient, I think of me first.
My own pride and selfishness.
I forget that the extra energy it takes to sit down and help with the closet will sometimes lead to a fruitful conversation with my son. Taking a breath and opening my eyes with compassion to the frustrated person in front of me, can lead to understanding and a new perspective.
It's not easy. It's actually hard work growing patience, kindness and goodness.
So, after all this grumbling, I am primarily thankful today for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life; that in all the promptings of my sinful nature, He is at work, pruning, teaching and reminding me of Jesus, helping me to become more like Him.
In all our quiet grumblings today, may we lean on the grace and mercy of God, remembering all that He has done for us, and is doing for us.
Where have you noticed the grumblings of your heart? How does thanksgiving point you back to Him?