Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Savoring a Cup of Tea: Faith Pointes (Chapter 6: Developing the Attitude of Gratitude)

Another great chapter in Barbara Barker's Faith Pointes. As I mentioned in my earlier post, Carrie and I are just now going through this book with the aim of actually discussing it. This will be a GREAT chapter to discuss.

As usual, Barbara boils it down for us: We can choose to be thankful, to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Frequently, the feelings of thankfulness follow. How can we cultivate this attitude? She offers a few steps (you really should read the whole thing; this is only a brief summary!). 1) Be thankful for our relationship with Christ and his provision for us ("The truth is when you have Christ, you need nothing else.") 2) Learn to contemplate the attributes of God (such as holiness, wisdom, justice, love, etc.). 3) Realize that God does not owe you anything but judgment. 4) Keep in mind the whole reason for your existence ("God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works"--Eph. 2:10). 5) Realize that being thankful is an act of the will. 6) Verbalize your thankfulness to others.

In the discussion questions, there's an interesting corollary that develops between our gratitude/ingratitude on the one hand and our contentment/discontent on the other. I'm not sure which comes first, but when we are more content, we are more thankful--or when we are more thankful (choosing an attitude of gratitude), we are more content.

It's also sobering to look at how much the Lord dislikes complaining and grumbling--how many times in Scripture we are commanded NOT to complain, or people (like the Israelites) are disciplined for complaining. Conversely, we are encouraged and commanded over and over again to praise and thank the Lord. What an example we set for our children in this!!! And, how much more pleasant a home we create by simply not complaining about everything (to, or in front of, our husbands especially!). This is something I really need to work on.

And now, I'm off to get up my three children and will choose to be thankful that we have an abundance of food to eat instead of complaining about the work food prep takes me! As a side note, I should also mention how very, very, very thankful I am for my husband and children. In the last few weeks, I've been reminded of this through some rather poignant conversations with friends of mine: two just had miscarriages and are still grieving the loss of those precious ones; another girl was weeping from fatigue--she is a single mom who is working hard during the week and faithfully coming to church on Sunday...and her toddler is entering the testing-2's in full force. How grateful I am that the Lord has seen fit to bless me with children and with a wonderful husband who loves both me and our children (and loves the Lord!). Carrie just posted a great message about this, too.

No comments: