I woke on Monday morning with a slight headache and a stiff knee. As I was standing in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil and feeling out of sorts, this question popped into my head: “Why the heck are you so grumpy?”
Now I’m not sure that the Holy Spirit will use that tone or choice of words exactly, but it got my attention!
There are a multitude of reasons for my heart to be overflowing with gratitude. God made a way for us to relocate to Somerset West in July 2021. At the start of the year, the pieces just fell into place: sell our home; purge, sell and pack up our belongings; load the cats and make the trek to the Western Cape. So much to be thankful for!
But in between the beautiful garden of God’s goodness, blessings and generosity, the ugly weeds of discontentment, grumbling and selfishness creep in.
I have the Power
I have come to realise
the power to deal with the weeds
of ingratitude is in my hands.
In 1 Peter 2:1-3, we are encouraged to take action. How, you may ask?
1. Rid ourselves of carnal desires and actions
2. Crave pure spiritual things/thinking
3. Grow up in our salvation
4. Know that the Lord is good.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and the readiness to show appreciation.
It would seem to me that gratitude is an intentional action and, therefore, not something that comes naturally to us. Even in the greatest of circumstances, I still seem to find something to grumble about.
2 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Who I have been transformed into because of Christ should make me shout for joy, sing His praises and declare His goodness – with immeasurable gratitude!
So much has been given to us
for the purpose of declaring
In Colossians 3, Paul gives clear direction about the actions/attitudes that we need to take off and those that we need to put on. It would seem that he was reminding us too that we need to play our part (by taking off and putting on) just as Christ does His transforming work in us. And through all of this – we are commanded to BE THANKFUL!
Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
So, after the very pointed question of “Why the heck are you so grumpy?” I decided to make a little list of reasons why it is better to ‘turn my frown upside down.’
Reasons to Pursue Gratitude
1. It takes my eyes off myself, and helps me to turn my eyes onto the LORD.
Hebrews 12:2-3: …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
2. It reminds me that I’m not in control, but there is a Sovereign God who is.
My dependency on God makes me recognise how much I need Him and that I can trust Him fully.
Isaiah 45:5-7: I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, … I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.
3. It helps me recognize how much I have to be thankful for.
Thankful for the small and big things, and to remember the goodness of His many blessings.
Ephesians 5:20: Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
4. It reminds me that all good things come from God.
I was never meant to be fully sufficient – God is my Provider, and every gift and blessing come from His hand. James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
5. A heart of gratitude leaves no room for complaining.
It seems impossible to be truly thankful and filled with negativity & ungratefulness at the same time.
Psalm 28:7: The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
6. It makes the enemy flee.
The forces of darkness can't stand to be around hearts that give thanks and honour to God.
Psalm 68:1-4: May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds -- his name is the LORD-- and rejoice before him.
7. It opens up the door for continued blessings. It invites His presence.
Our spirits are refreshed and renewed in Him.
Psalm 22:3: But You are holy, O You who are enthroned in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered]. (AMP)
Some Practical Tips
As with most new habits we want to cultivate, we need to be intentional – for example, place your daily vitamins next to your coffee mug, or set reminders on your phone to go to gym. ☺
Many of you may have read or heard of these tips somewhere before, but if intentional gratitude is something you’re struggling with, perhaps you can adopt one or two of these as a new discipline:
First things first
Start the day with a prayer of gratitude – thank God for a good night’s rest, your family, your job, your cat snuggling behind your legs, a hot cup of coffee… you get the idea. Make an intentional decision to take that wandering mind of yours captive and think on those things that are true and good (Philippians 4:8).
Write it down
If you keep a journal, create a section for your Thank Yous – be intentional about writing down the many blessings from God’s hand, and then thank Him for them. If you do not keep a journal, add a page in your bedside drawer, and as part of ‘First things first,’ start making a list, adding to it daily.
Say ‘Thank You’ – a lot!
Be intentional about saying thank you to those in your family, your work colleagues and particularly strangers. See the good, and express the good. Heartfelt gratitude makes both the ‘thanker’ and the ‘thanked’ feel good! Be specific with your expression of gratitude and be sure to add how it made you feel.
A Legacy of Gratitude
I’d like to close with an extract from the lyrics of the song ‘No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus’ by Steffany Gretzinger. The words have really pierced my heart over the last few days:
If my heart could tell a story
If my life would sing a song
If I have a testimony
If I have anything at all
No one ever cared for me like Jesus
His faithful hand has held me all this way
And when I'm old and grey
And all my days are numbered on the earth
Let it be known in You alone
My joy was found
Oh my joy, my joy
Let my children tell their children
Let this be their memory
That all my treasure was in heaven
And You were everything to me
Let us be women who declare His goodness, who proclaim His awesomeness.
Let us start a culture of gratitude and leave a legacy of gratitude.
Let us remind ourselves, and those around us, of all He has done for us.
Let Jesus be our joy, and let us express that joy with thankful hearts.
A less grumpy Thora
Women Of Reverence welcomes Thora Haefliger as a guest blogger.
Thora is married to Craig and they serve on the eldership team at Church on the Way in Modderfontein, Johannesburg.
After spending more than 18 years in Corporate Business, she felt led by God to come alongside her husband in their family business in 2010. For the last 10 years they've been able to serve the Body of Christ together, work together and travel together.
Thora’s joy includes being a wife, mother and granny. She loves teaching and equipping women, especially enjoying the diversity that exists in God's girls. She is an avid crafter and DIY'er, using her creativity to upcycle, paints and decorates.