Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Cultivating Gratitude

Recently a friend and mentor of mine shared with me about a book she is reading called One Thousand Gifts.  The author, recognizing her ungrateful heart and attitude toward life (boy, did that description pluck a convicting heart string!) set out to create a list of one thousand things for which she was grateful.  One Thousand.  That's a mighty long list.

As I listened to Sheri share about this book and a bit of the author's experience of experiencing God in the present, I became inspired to challenge myself to do likewise.   

Ungrateful heart?  Complaining and grumbling spirit?  Guilty, guilty, and guilty.  Grandpa Adam, Grandma Eve, I'm lookin' at you.  It's been there since the beginning.  Do you think my first word was "mine" or "thanks"? 

And so I put my hands to the plow and begin the work of cultivating gratitude.  I'm not talking about breaking up soil that's simply been lying fallow for a few years.  Not a chance.  This will be a brand new territory--laboring to clear a patch of land overrun and entangled with thorns and weeds of sin. And through disciplined care and the work of the Holy Spirit hoping that it will produce the desired fruit of gratitude.

A gardener is diligent in his work, is he not?  Daily uprooting weeds that spring up overnight, watering and tending to planted seeds, adding nutrients to the soil, and the list goes on.  Yet, for all his diligence and labor he really has no ability to force a shoot to emerge from a seed, cause the growth, or tell the plant the proper time for bearing its fruit. 

So I imagine it will be with gratitude.  Daily uprooting ingratitude that sneaks in and tries to choke out my little gratitude plants. And watering the roots with practiced gratitude so that what was planted becomes firmly established in my heart.

And so I embark on my own journey of opening my eyes and looking at my daily life to see one thousand things for which I am able to genuinely give thanks to God.  I imagine you'll see some of them appear in posts from time to time.

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