Monday, October 3, 2011

The Sin of Ingratitude

The sin of ingratitude.

During a walk today, I confessed that to God.

I have been unwilling to keep after my gifts list, my list of things for which I am grateful. The list of things I love that are gifts from God.

Why had it become so hard?

And why was I so easily irritated? So quick to get angry?

I turned to One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, thinking that I might find some help there.

I bought this book shortly after it came out, but since I was involved in the challenge to read the Bible in 90 days (in addition to my BSF study), I put it aside. (Believe me, I needed every moment to accomplish the Bible in 90 days goal, and I still ran over by 13!)

Then it was summer and surely I would have time. But summer was very busy and I had my summer Bible study to do and no time to read One Thousand Gifts slowly (for that is how I knew I wanted to read it).

So although I had read the first chapters quickly when I got it, and skimmed some of the rest, I hadn't read the whole book. And I had not read slowly, marking what I needed to remember.

You know those people who save the very nicest things for "someday"? Well, that is what was going on with me with One Thousand Gifts. Once I started it, I knew I would finish it and then I wouldn't have it to look forward to.... And somehow I cannot mark a book until I have owned it for some time and I needed to mark lots in this book.

But I picked it up and re-read the heartbreaking first chapter and then further on.

And this is what I got:

I am suffering from the sin of ingratitude.
Giving thanks changes things.
I have to learn how to do this.
Practice. My list is my practice of being grateful to God for the gifts He has given.
It is my way of receiving the gifts.

Eucharisteo -- thanksgiving
root word: charis -- grace
derivative: chara -- joy

Being ungrateful is a way of saying that I know better than God. That He doesn't really love me. At least, not as much as He loves others.

So I resolve to take up the list. The list that I started in November 2007 and kept off-and-on through early July 2011. Three years and eight months. And my gifts number only 301. That is an average of six or seven gifts a month.

I almost cry for the time lost due to my stubbornness. Not so much because my list is not long, but because I have not made a practice of gratitude; I have not healed the hard, anxious heart. I have not opened my eyes to the good things. I have not surrendered my will to God's good and perfect will for my life. And I have affected those around me.

Today, I thank You, Lord, for the gifts...

302. breeze against my arms--not cool, not warm, just ... perfect
303. the color of leaves on a tree: some dark, some light. And how they move!
304. swaying of trees in the wind (so comforting)
305. remembering that at one point I resigned myself to no husband and no children: a husband and three kids
306. Lord, I love seeing birds fly
307. And airplanes in the distance
308. and that one house with the landscaping that I love.

And by naming, thanking, I receive and I hope and pray that I change. Please, Lord, change me! Amen.


ells said...

Stopping by from Ann's...your picture is what caught my attention...that is the journal I bought after i read Ann's book. Actually there is a picture today on my blog of that book. Counting has changed me...I have only been doing it since January...but I feel the changes...the waking up...
I know you will be blessed by picking back up the pen and counting...little by little...until you won't be able to stop.
Blessings as you count...

Leah said...

Thank you for commenting. I visited your blog and read a bit of your story and I am amazed at you! Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspiration for me to keep going. I so want to change! Thank you again.