27 April 2011

Replacing the Sigh

Pulling into the driveway last Saturday, I took one look at this mud pit in my front yard and let out a big old sigh. The kind of sigh that causes Travis to make fun of me. And if it's become a joke, it probably means I've sighed a few too many times during our marriage. Well, on this particular day, I have to admit it was the Holy Spirit who gently convicted me over that one. That sigh was one of ingratitude. The mud pit was there because a few hours earlier, a pretty large tree had been lying across the yard and into the driveway. It was one that the wind had blown over as a very bad storm (and tornadoes) were approaching our area the weekend before. God immediately brought to mind that I should have been thankful that we weren't at home when it fell, meaning no cars were in the driveway, and no children were playing in the front yard. I should have been thankful that a couple of friends did everything from help Travis cut it up, to dig up the stump and haul everything away. The Lord had showed protection and provision, and what had I done to show my gratefulness? I had sighed. I knew He wanted me to replace that sigh with gratitude. Thankfully, He convicted me for it.

"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Eph. 5:20

Do you believe God's in control? Or do you believe that events are simply "coincidence"? Does God care about only issues of death and life, sin and obedience? Or does He also nudge our hearts to conform to His through something as mundane as housework, as well as bring us moments of happiness through something as simple as the twinkle in a child's eye?

I think the way we answer those questions depends upon how surrendered we are to His shaping, His conforming -- whether or not we are filled with His Spirit, or, instead, preoccupied with our own desires and ideas.

The Apostle Paul explained that giving thanks in ALL things was one of four signs of a spirit-filled life. Not just giving thanks for good things. Not just giving thanks for "spiritual things." But giving thanks for all things. I don't know about you, but for me, that is a hard pill to swallow.

All things.

It's hard to find a way around "all." And that is why the Holy Spirit must show us the way to give thanks for the all. He is the only One who can open our eyes to how God may be using that "something" to conform us, to draw us closer to Him, to work "all things" together for good to us who love Him.

Am I jabbering on about this because I have gratitude down pat? Um, no. God has been prodding me, poking me, shaping me -- changing my thinking. But when I choose to be thankful (which means allowing the Holy Spirit to reign over my thinking), I am forced to ask God to reveal how He is working in situations that are unpleasant or even downright bad. Choosing to be thankful to Him causes me to see that GOD was ultimately the One behind the "small" blessing that brought encouragement and joy. I wish I were a faster learner. But I am so thankful that He continues to teach me more of His Way. And His Way is life abundant!

**Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a book that God has used to challenge my thinking. It's one that I need to read again to more fully digest!

1 comment:

  1. Allowing the Holy Spirit to reign over our thinking. Easier said than done. I ask Him to do that very thing, and then quickly seem to snatch it right back!
    Beautiful and thought provoking words. Thank you for sharing, Julie!