Reluctant Gratitude

a giftTrials in life happen to all of us. I don’t like them. I’m guessing you don’t either. They mess with our plans. They cause frustration, anger, hurt and fear. I usually find myself wanting to throw a temper tantrum and beg God for it to go away.

We are told in scripture to give thanks to God in all things. My head understands this. My head knows I will feel better when I give it to God and thank Him for all that He is doing in my life. But, my heart is in a different place. My heart is reluctant to show Gratitude. I find myself giving it to God with my fists pounding, negotiating and putting my parameters on the situation. In fact, reading this scripture below can make me crabby instead of comforted.

2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:3-4 (MSG).

A gift is something that I am supposed to be thankful for. How can I be thankful for trials? God uses these experiences of reluctant gratitude to shape us and mold us into His likeness. If we are willing to fight through the reluctance, we will find peace and comfort. We will see how big God is our lives.

Here is how I moved from reluctant gratitude to genuine gratitude.

  1. Journal it.  I write out my frustrations, heart aches, struggles in a prayer to God, but I always start with what I am grateful for first even if those things are not related to my trials.
  2. Read scripture. I focus on scriptures that give me hope, comfort and peace in all situations.
  3. Say it. I say to myself and God all the reasons to be thankful for the trial. It is very hard at first. I keep doing it until my heart and head are in the same place. It moves me from bitterness to peace. It allows me to see the bigger picture.

I won’t kid you. It is not easy nor natural to go through this process, however it works. This process returns my heart to what it knows to be true. God is bigger than my trials. He has a plan for me and all of those involved to use this for His good. His peace will come in the midst of it.

How about you? How do you stay focused on God and gratitude during the trials in life? What helps you stay strong? What gets you back on track? Share your victories and your struggles below and we can encourage each other.

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