A Season of Gratitude

“We don’t see the material world for what it is meant to be:
as the means to communion with God.
~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

It is a struggle of mine—cynicism, sarcasm. I confess it. It’s easy to see the negative, the ugly behind the beautiful. So often I attach words to it, like “real” or “raw.” But the truth is, it’s all just whitewash for the sneaky sin of pride. I am the great ingrate.

I am tired of calling food smelly, calling art “commercialized,” and identifying the most wretched parts of the church. It’s worn me out, I think.

So this month is a self-induced intervention of sorts. It is an attempt to shift from thinking from ingratitude, to gratitude. And in that shift, I’m hoping to learn to trust that the ugly will one day be sorted out by another, that it’s not my job to judge the world.

And I want you to join me.

“The more we are able to see just how many blessing we have been given—given freely and undeserved—the more we will be able to see
God is out for our good. And when that happens, our trust level increases.”
~James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God

If our days were spent trying to identify every good blessing, the free moments of beauty, would we be so quick to point to the ugly and broken? If we cultivated an appetite for praise, would there be any hunger left for cynicism?

“Perhaps we should try to write down the blessing of one day. We might begin: we could never end; there are not pens or paper enough in all the world. The attempt would remind us of our ‘vast treasure of content.'”
~George Buttrick (as quoted by Smith, supra)

It is no wonder that two books have landed on my bedside table in this season of pilgrim celebration. One I just received. The other I’ve put off for some time. Would you pick up your copies and read along? I think there’s gold in them there hills. I’ve already found a bit.

As this month continues, you’ll hear some stories of gratitude pushing back the darkness, stories from Amber, Kevin, Erika, Abby, and maybe some others. We’ll actively try to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness this month. After all, this is the month of Thanksgiving.

Will you join me this month as we recognized that

Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

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9 Responses to A Season of Gratitude

  1. sometimes we have to be our own interventions. thanks for setting that example.
    looking forward to digging into this with you all.

  2. Danelle says:

    Looking forward to joining you all. I am beginning a series on thanksgiving in the next few days at my blog as well.
    I live what Ann says about how we can’t be thankful and negative at the same time. Such truth. I think it is the very cornerstone of thankfulness, the choosing of the better over the unfortunate easy flow of negativity.
    I wrote I “live” up there where I meant “love”, but I like “live” better. 🙂 My prayer.

  3. I look forward to joining you, too! I began my own list a few months ago after I read Ann’s book, and I also started a photo list on my facebook account. I had the intention of posting at least one photo each day, and in the beginning it was fairly easy. It’s been harder recently, but hopefully this will spur me on to remember to look and really see His blessings each day.

  4. Rae says:

    “If we cultivated an appetite for praise, would there be any hunger left for cynicism?”

    Ruminating on that. Thanks.

  5. Love this idea, Seth. A season of thanks – yes, seems about right. Although I don’t know if I’ll ‘joint’ you so much as join you?? (Sorry, couldn’t resist – made me giggle a bit and I’m always up for a giggle.)

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