Does gratitude, or whining, dominate our life? Which defines "us"?
I know that for myself, I have a long way to go before gratitude is my INITIAL response, and I could be considered a truly grateful person. One of the things that God has been bringing to my attention this year has been my choice of words, and especially how some of them are the complete opposite of thankful speech.
Sentences like "So annoying..."
"I really don't want to do this"
"I *really* wish..."
And other generally fussing at things that inconvenience me or mess up my plans.
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks". And I have to face the fact that these words do not come from the abundance of a thankful heart. They actually show the opposite -a heart that is discontent with what it finds around it. A heart discontent with the plan that the Lord, who keeps the planets in perfect motion and set our earth the only distance from the sun that would sustain life, has set for me. As if I knew better how to control my life! And that is not the kind of heart that gives glory to it's redeemer. And even if, outwardly, you might not voice your complaints, and you may seem to others to be a terribly grateful person, the Lord sees the heart.
But it's not enough to just "stop complaining". If you don't replace these thoughts with something else, that is all that your heart will dwell on, whether you voice it or not. You cannot create a void in your thoughts. You must either replace them with conscientious prayers of thanks and pleas for help when you are inclined to grumble, or you must accept defeat. Thoughts left unattended will not just do nothing, they will wander. Like sheep if the shepherd were just to hope that the sheep would stand still if he took a nap will go get into some sort of trouble, so will our thoughts. Thankfully, we CAN choose joy! But only through and for the Lord, or we fight a loosing battle!
This is probably the most convicting of these posts I will write, for me personally. I have so far to go in this area, I feel like I shouldn't be writing it! But at the same time, this is what the Lord has been showing me, and I think that admitting that will keep me more accountable, and hopefully encourage some of you, as well! May the Lord receive all glory!