Friday, April 10, 2009

My Ungrateful Heart

I feel the need to beg forgiveness. Mostly from God, I guess, but also from my children, friends, co-workers, and everyone whose life is touched by mine in some way.

My sin, my problem (this one, anyway), is ungratefulness.

It seems like my focus is frequently on the difficulties of my life, and rarely, rarely on the joys, the benefits, the blessings I have. I hate this. I hate it when my children do it to me. You know, it's not the right cereal, you didn't buy yellow potato chips, we are out of milk (are you going to the store, mom?), blah blah blah.

Yet, I rationalize and defend (to myself) my "right" to complain about my lot in life. I'm not really overt in this negativity (am I?) but it has crept out of my heart like a low-lying fog, and is covering up the good stuff, making the blessings hard to see, distorting the reality of how good my life is, and dampening every interaction.

It's a subtle thing, this fog of the heart. Damp, pervasive, corrosive. I think it starts with a little - just a little - self-pity. "Man, I'm tired this morning", "Why don't the kids
ever stop bickering?", "I have to clean the bathroom again?" . Next thing I know, these thoughts start coming out of my mouth: "Andrew, sit down in that chair, you'll spill milk all over your shirt!", "I've told you fifty times to FLUSH AND WASH YOUR HANDS!!", "CLOSE THE FRONT DOOR!"

And the angry, self-sorrowful, foul fog is wrapping me up in a cocoon. And everything I feel and say seems perfectly reasonable, even justified. Darn it.

They HAVE to sit down. They BETTER put the lid down and aim right! They SHOULD close the front door. They, they, they.

Reality: "They" are little children. "They" don't know, actually. It's my job to teach them. Right? Who is the adult here?

The Bible spends a quite a bit of time on this topic. Being grateful, thankful, content. It seems kind of important to God that we are grateful for what He's provided more than focusing on what He's withheld, or what this fallen world drops on us from time to time. And what's interesting is that when I do take time to pause before yelling, I start to notice again how darned sweet Andrew's goofy smile is or how hard Kobi is trying to do stuff right or how loving Kameron is under all his demands.

When I wake up and delay those "I'm not a morning person" thoughts, frequently I can hear the robins waking up outside, singing and pulling up fat Northwest worms for breakfast. I can hear the boys rustling around, identifying Kameron as he plops out of bed and onto the floor, on his way to my bedroom door to knock and say, "Good morning, mom, can I come in?".

And if I give God a chance to gently blow away some of that fog, I remember again why I am their mommie, and why I love it so much.

They still need to aim better, though.

1 comment:

  1. i think we can all agree that we tend to focus on 'things' to complain about, be upset with, get annoyed with etc...
    they do hide our blessings because for alot of us, the strength of negativity can hit us harder and quicker than not.
    but how many of us can actually fully realize and appreciate those sometimes hard to see blessings?
    to me, thats a blessing on its own!

    ...and i dont think they ever learn to aim better! *wink*