March 4, 2016
When I Forget to Be Grateful
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
My arm was in a sling due to a broken collarbone, and pain spiraled if I moved it even a fraction of an inch. I couldn’t do a lot of things — one of them was fix my own hair — so I had to call Mr. Richard for help.
That’s what my husband called himself over the next few weeks, as he stood behind me trying his best. He joked while he blow‑dried, brushed and straight‑ironed my hair. He only burned my ear once, but that jerky movement you make when 400 degrees hits the tip of your ear is not fun with a broken collarbone.
I learned that my hair was versatile. One day it could be flippy and kind of cute. Another day I had super flat hair. Not as cute.
My hair stylist was funny and handsome. We laughed a lot, but sometimes I was grouchy. Really grouchy.
“Babe, it’s sticking up like a rooster tail in back.”
“My scalp is smoking. Can you turn the heat down?”
These were reasonable requests, but when I dipped into “that” tone I was really saying: I want to do things by myself. I’m tired of hurting when I move.
What my husband might have heard is: You’re not appreciated. You can’t do it right.
Though I should have been grateful, my frustration and pain opened the door to momentary ingratitude — and I walked through it.
In Lamentations 3, Solomon shares a long list of complaints. Suddenly, in the midst of his diatribe, his words take a drastic turn.
God’s love never ceases.
His mercies are without end; they start new every morning.
God is faithful.
We don’t know what caused Solomon to take a U‑turn, but there are times when I sense God asking me to stop and consider where ingratitude is taking me.
Ingratitude has the power to lead us down a road we aren’t intended to travel. It affects our closest relationships as others try to figure out how to change so we can be happy. Ingratitude blinds us to the good around us, while we are hyper‑focused on what we wish were different. It bleeds into our attitudes, which impacts anyone who accidently gets in the way. Ingratitude tries to overshadow the way we see our lives, even the really good parts.
Stopping to consider what we are thankful for is a course corrector.
We aren’t asked to pretend that there aren’t challenges, but to tackle them as we address the real need (which is a beautiful, strong response). The situation may be the same, but we are free to put our toes on a new path and spiritually and emotionally take a step in a different direction.
When I look back at the six weeks that I slept in a recliner, typed with one hand and wore several different hairstyles created by Mr. Richard, I also see a sweet guy standing behind me with an earnest look on his face, saying, “What will Mr. Richard create today?”
I can’t help but be grateful for that, or will I?
Heavenly Father, I’ve been so focused on my temporary situation that I forgot to say thank You. Thank You for the people who show up. Thank You for laughter. Thank You that You are a safe place where I can share my feelings and needs. Thank You that Your mercies show up new every single day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 36:5, “Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (NIV)
Psalm 106:1, “Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (ESV)
Amy Carroll shows us how to find the “good” in imperfect seasons in her book: blog for a giveaway of her new book to be released in May, “Come With Me: The Beauty of Following Where He Leads.”
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Intentional gratitude means stopping whatever you are saying or doing to take inventory.
Think of three people for whom you are thankful. Tell that person. Whisper thanks to God. Let gratitude redirect your heart and day.
© 2016 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.