Grumbling or Gratitude? (with FREE printable!)

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Thankfulness trees, gratitude lists, and 30 day Instagram challenges...we are in the month of Thanksgiving, for sure.  

And yet, it's also a month of changing weather, chilly winds, and less sunshine. (at least here in PA).  I admit that there has probably been more grumbling than thanksgiving on my tongue in the past week.  Dreary, cold day follows dreary, cold day and this sunshine-loving woman has a hard time remembering that God is still good even when it's 40 degrees and cloudy. (I wish I was kidding...) 

As I was making coffee this morning, the Lord reminded me of two passages in Scripture:

Ephesians 5:18b-20 (ESV) - "...but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord in your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,..." 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (ESV) - "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit."

Another version of the passage in Ephesians says "Giving thanks IN all things and FOR all things."  Whoa. For all things? Really? Am I really supposed to thank God for cloudy days...both literal and figurative ones?  According to Scripture - YES.

Even more convicting to me is the correlation made in 1 Thessalonians...this shakes me to the core. The instruction to not quench the Spirit comes directly after the instruction to give thanks in all circumstances - is this a coincidence?  It might be, but I highly doubt it.  Is my refusal to give thanks really a choice to quench the Spirit?  Or if we think about it another way, are we actively partnering with Holy Spirit when we choose grumbling and complaining instead of thanksgiving and joy?  The answer to that question is so obvious it's embarrassing. In the songs that we sing and the words that we pray, we claim to want more of the Spirit, more of God - yet our heart's response is so often anything but "rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances."  

Right now, my prayer is simply - "Help me, Lord. I want to be thankful. Help me."  

And then I practice thanksgiving, even if my heart isn't feeling it.  Sometimes we have to sing or pray or write our way into a grateful heart. And so, the next part of my prayer often goes something like this - 

"Thank You, Papa, for clouds.  Thank You for rain.  Thank You for the provision of heat...and the provision for the heating bills.  Thank you for candles that smell like waffles. Thank You for warm sweaters and cozy slippers.  Thank You for hot coffee.  Thank You for my community and for friends who love winter.  Thank You for the spiritual symbolism and lessons in each season.  Thank You for the beauty of falling leaves.  Thank You for pretty mums and white pumpkins.  Thank You for the quietness of fall and winter, for the heightened need to listen to Your voice. Thank You for the wilderness."

...now it's your turn. 

To remind you to give thanks each day, in all things, and for all things, we're giving you a FREE 8x10 "grateful" printable this month! Click here to download your grateful printable.