Monday, March 28, 2011

Attitude or Gratitude?

I have been enjoying Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book CHOOSING GRATITUDE, and at the same time I have often been convicted by her "journey to joy."

I highly recommend this book for Christian women. It includes a 30-day devotional on moving toward an attitude of gratitude.

Now, like I, you probably already feel you are grateful. I thought so at the start of the book. On the other hand when I got to chapters about "giving thanks in ALL things," I started feeling more and more challenged. When the author asked that I go 30 days without complaining or whining (even about the SNOW on March 28), I failed miserably. The stories and scriptures are helpful as we journey toward daily joy in a life often filled with stress, worries, and heartache.

One convicting section tested me on our recent vacation. I realized what a bad example I was setting for my daughter as a result. In her "Whiners or Worshipers" chapter, she points out, "Ungrateful people tend to hold tightly to their rights. And when others fail to perform the way they want or expect them to, they feel justified in making demands and retaliating emotionally" (88).

Hmmmmm....I thought of the time on vacation when our table did not receive the warm bread and butter like all the other tables had...or when other tables were served first even though we had been waiting a long time...or the time the manager messed up our reservations at the hotel making us wait longer in line....What was I thinking? Paul wrote about the importance of having a servant's attitude rather than "I-deserve-the-best-attitude." What about the times I was cut off in traffic, or just the other day when a man cut in line at Panera Bread Company after a lengthy wait?

I was ashamed of what my rights revealed--a prideful, ungrateful heart.

So I apologize to the waitress in Sanibel. I should not seek revenge by giving a poor tip or complaining or sighing heavily or rolling my eyes. I apologize to the man in line at the bagel place. I should not give him that "teacher-stare" I have mastered so well over the years.

No, it doesn't mean you let people abuse you, but God's Word does illustrate over and over how much God wants us to let insult pass and not seek revenge or be "ungrateful."

How about you? Have you caught yourself expecting certain rights from those who serve? When people do not live up to our expectations, how we react reflects the depth of our grateful hearts.

May your heart and mine be filled today with thankfulness for a patient God who does not react like we do, but is slow to anger and filled with love.

For His glory,

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