Happy Birthday to My Mom

It's my mom's birthday today! My mom is one of the most amazing, beautiful people I know. I love these pictures that I was able to stalk and grab from her and my dad's facebook. To me, all these images show who my mom really is. She is a woman who loves her family fiercely, and we all know that she would do anything for us. She is also a woman who works really hard but also knows how to have fun. One of my favorite recent pics of her is where she and a friend are going down the kiddie slide on a cruz they recently went on, and there's two girls in the back staring down on them. I want to be that woman when I grow up ;) 

One of the things that my mom always told us that I still repeat to myself nearly every day is that you can do anything you set your mind to. Thank you mom for loving us hard, and pushing us hard, and showing us that we should take our selves seriously but not too seriously all at the same time. You are amazing, and I hope to be half the woman that you are someday.

Are these 5 things keeping you from being grateful?

Hey friends!! It is great to be back to blogging after taking a break these last few weeks to reorganize my website. I wanted to jump back in where we left off with the book Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

As I had mentioned in previous blog posts, earlier this year, I chose to start focusing on cultivating more gratitude in my personal life as a way to help me combat depression. But is gratitude really that big of a deal? It can easily seem like a "small" sin. One that doesn't really matter. But in chapter 3 of her book, Nancy explains why gratitude really is important for Christians to cultivate in their daily lives.

Nancy goes so far as to say that ". . .ingratitude is the taproot out of which grows a host of other sins. And if we don't put the axe to that root, we provide Satan with a wide, vacant lot on which to set up his little shop of horrors in our hearts."

She takes us to Romans 1 where Paul lists a host of sins and in verse 21 attributes the precursor to these sins to ingratitude to God. She sites Dr. D. James Kennedy who stated that "An ungrateful person is only one step away from getting his or needs met in illegitimate ways."

So what are some things that cause ungratefulness in our lives? Nancy lists 5 things.

1. Unrealistic expectations: I don't know about you, but I expect a lot of life itself. I set crazy goals for myself, and not that goals aren't good. They are, but I let them consume me sometimes, and the fact that I don't reach them when I think I should or reach them at all causes me to allow ungratefulness and bitterness to creep into my life. Unfortunately, I look to be fulfilled through accomplishing the goals I set for myself and being successful instead of looking for my fulfillment in God. 

2. Forgetfulness: This is huge! I mean, yes, we forget to remember all that God has done for us in the past, but what about all that he has done for us in the present. It's easy to forget that you have a place to live, clothes on your back, and food on your table. Remembrance is a huge theme in Scripture, especially in the Old Testament with the Israelites. We have so much we don't even realize how blessed we are, which can easily lead to the next point.

3. Entitlement: I've seen this a lot in past jobs. People who are receiving something for nothing begin to believe that they deserve it and so much more. They become ungrateful and belligerent a lot of times. It's not pretty. It's essential that we remember that we would have nothing if it weren't for God's grace to us in blessing us with what we have

4. Comparison: Nancy's take on this point was different than what I expected it to be. Yes, focusing on what other people have or successes they've achieved can lead to ungratefulness for what we have or where we are in our life. But Nancy pointed out that we can get caught up focusing on ourselves and all the sacrifices we're making and the work we're doing that we become ungrateful for what others are doing. We don't even see it sometimes because we're so busy looking at ourselves. I've seen this in my own marriage when my hubby hasn't helped me out with the dishes or cleaning the bathroom as much as I think he should have. What I fail to recognize is all that he is doing to make our life and marriage work when this happens.

5. Blindness to God's grace: I love how Nancy expounded on this point so I'm going to share it with you before we close out here.  

We are the debtors. We are the ones who owe. The mercies of God that are "new every morning" (Lamentations 3:23) are not blessings we deserve but graces given by Gods loving hand to fallen creatures, those whom He has redeemed by His good pleasure. To ignore such unmerited favor or consider it God's obligation to us is to miss out on the vision of His loveliness and glory that will sustain us through life's battles and keep joy lowing into and out of our heart.
Ingratitude steals it all - healthy relationships, humility, contentment, enjoyment, and the sweet walk with Christ that provides our only access to abundant life. 

Wow, right?! Ingratitude can cause so much unnecessary heartache and drama in our lives. A little heartfelt thanks to God and those around us can be such a game changer in our personal perspective on life, our relationships with others, and our fight to be the best we can be. So let's strive to be grateful!

And there you have it! As always, I love hearing and seeing what you guys are grateful for in your lives. Leave a comment below or use the hashtag #projectchoosinggratitude on Instagram to share your images!