The Roots Run Deep

In July I listened to an audiobook called ‘Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy' by Nancy DeMoss Wogglemuth. I started listening because I liked the positive title, and I think that thankfulness is important. I make sure to say please and thank you, write thank you cards, and give time to thanking God each day - but felt I had a little room to grow in terms of gratitude. However, as she faithfully explored the topic of thankfulness in the Bible, I could not hide from reality - there are deep roots of ingratitude in my heart!

Ingratitude can be subtle, but at its essence is a questioning of God’s goodness. I express ingratitude when I dwell on disappointment, when I compare myself to others, when I’m oblivious to God’s many blessings in my life, when I let pride run deep and take credit for what God has done. 

Disappointment stopped me in my tracks. It wasn’t in my vocabulary to call disappointment ingratitude. But it's true, isn’t it? When I dwell on disappointment, I question God’s goodness. I question whether my circumstances are right for me. It’s an expression of discontent. 

Disappointment is a joy stealer, and dwelling on disappointment causes our hearts to grow cold towards God. But is it ok to feel disappointed? I think it is. God created us with the capacity to feel it. But He doesn’t want us to dwell on it and distance ourselves from Him. Disappointment is a signal to run to God and His Word for comfort, to make sense of our circumstance and to get a renewed perspective. 

Gratitude, on the other hand, is a joy giver. Tim Chester puts it this way:

Giving thanks is a powerful act. We all too easily focus on what we lack 
and feel discontented… But gratitude redirects our thoughts away from the 
trifles we lack and towards the amazing blessings that are already ours


Gratitude “leads us back to God”. Giving thanks causes us to focus on the One who created us, our Heavenly Father, the One who gave us new life, our saviour Jesus, and the One who dwells within us, the Holy Spirit. The act of giving thanks to God is underpinned by the recognition that God is good, and He is good (Psalm 100:5). 

What's more, thankfulness to God is His will for our lives - “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). God’s will is that we dwell on His goodness and wonder about His purpose in our circumstances rather than dwell on disappointment. 

Giving thanks to God is a call to obedience to Him and His Word. It is not the easy path, but it is the path of joy. Nancy DeMoss Wogglemuth says that “gratitude is a lifestyle - a hardfought, grace-infused, biblical lifestyle”. It’s a lifestyle I desire, that I will pursue by His help. I pray that God would help me unearth the deep roots of ingratitude, and replace them with a heart of thankfulness instead.


If you enjoyed this, why not read:

 Choosing Gratitude - Nancy Leigh DeMoss
One Thousand Gifts - Ann Voskamp
The Weekly Prayer Project

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