30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 4: Root Repair – Forgiveness

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It’s ok to be hurt, it is just what we do with that hurt that matters.

Scripture of the Day:

Matthew 6:14-15

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Ever feel like you have a sign on your back that says, “attack”? Sometimes it seems we can be inundated with people who are angry with us or just plain don’t like us. Any thankfulness we have quickly dissipates while we begin to become self-focused and perhaps throw a pity party or two.

If we are not careful, the actions of others can lead us down a path of a complaining self-absorbed spirit. We are human, though, and have feelings. It’s ok to be hurt, it is just what we do with that hurt that matters.

When I consider that God has forgiven me all of my transgressions, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I cannot receive such forgiveness and be unforgiving, as well. Forgiveness opens up our hearts and enables us to replace the hurt with grace, instead.

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 2: Root Repair – Ingratitude

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our perspective is altered in the presence of a Holy God.

Scripture of the Day:

Romans 1:21

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

Looking at these roots is a little embarrassing if you know what I mean. I am not talking about the roots from my last highlight job, either. Ingratitude pops up at the least likely times, sometimes easily provoked.

Irritants from everyday life (remember yesterday’s discussion?) threaten to snuff out a spirit of thankfulness as we focus on the immediate instead of the context of the immediate within the whole framework of life.

So how do we root out ingratitude? The motivational statement, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” might offer temporary relief, but more than mantras and pep talks, perhaps examining what created the ingratitude in the first place might lead to fostering gratitude.

An attitude of entitlement quickly crushes an attitude of gratitude. Expectations can become demands if we are not careful. This is where genuine humility is a lifesaver. We brought nothing into the world and can take nothing out. All we have is God’s. With this in mind, now what do we expect?

We need to come to God for a heart change. Our perspective is altered in the presence of a Holy God. Frustration is transformed into delight and anger is turned into sheer gratitude that God allows anything good in our lives at all.

Our great God is generous and merciful. He has provided for us, placed His love on us while we were not seeking Him at all. He has delighted in us. He is, in fact, all we need in this life and He takes care of our practical needs, too.

Oh God, how grateful we are for Your rich grace in our lives! Why should we be allowed to know You? How did we come to discover Your salvation? Please forgive us when ingratitude creeps into our hearts and help us to have hearts full of gratitude.

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 1: Root Repair – Tangled Roots

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Tangled Roots inhibit us from noticing God’s activity and blessings all around us.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Ggive thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Figures. Day one of posting on cultivating gratitude and my internet dies. The LORD has a sense of humor. First world probs can be irritating, and I confess I started to let this get to me. I don’t have time to be on the phone FOREVER with the internet peeps who have thick foreign accents and soft voices that I cannot comprehend.

Yes, typing all caps on FOREVER felt good. Add to this present reality a broken down car, figuring out rides for kids to jobs, trying to celebrate my son’s birthday while he is taking mid-terms and also trying to help him vote because he has a sudden business trip that has come up . . . ah, well, you get the point. And I haven’t even scratched the surface.

It seems this IS actually a fitting day to begin cultivating thankfulness, after all. Thankfulness existing in perfect circumstances comes easily enough, but when the little stuff begins to add up to distract us from all the blessings in our lives, we need to guard and foster a thankful heart.

Gardening is a great analogy to our walk with God. When I have transplanted plants that I have grown from a seed, I have to be very careful with the roots. Sometimes “volunteer plants” grow so close to the one I intended to plant, that the roots get tangled up. What a picture of how our lives get tangled up so easily. Ripping the roots apart damages the plant and will likely mean it does not produce as well as it could have. But carefully examining the roots and setting them free from anything that damages them enables the roots to be able to get the nourishment they need from the soil.

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When our lives seem busy and tangled like this tree in the picture, it is the best time to come to the only One Who can detangle our messes. Busyness sometimes prevents thankfulness when we become so absorbed with our surrounding chaos that we forget to look around us. Tangled Roots inhibit us from noticing God’s activity and blessings all around us.

When we look up and away from the tangled web surrounding us and gaze into God’s perfect word, we begin to forget the mess around us and lay a foundation of gratitude.

Sometimes we need to check our roots and see where they are grounded to be able to “root out” what is preventing gratitude in the first place. That’s where we are going to start our road to cultivating thankfulness – rooting out inhibitors of gratitude.

Here’s a song to cheer us up when things go awry: This is the Stuff

Thank You, LORD, when life’s messes bring us to Your feet in gratitude for what really matters. Temporary discomforts cannot steal our joy.