Monday, January 03, 2011

Why Gratitude Doesn't Always Work

I remember standing at a window in our home in Nevada thinking, "This naming things for which you're grateful just isn't working. I've tried it for two weeks and I'm still feeling depressed."

This was before the idea of keeping a gratitude journal appeared. No, back in 1990 we were just encouraged, everywhere it seemed, (magazines, books, sermons) to stop complaining and start reminding our heads, instead, of the good and happy stuff.

Except that it didn't work for me, hence, why I cluelessly stood at that window.

But these 20 years later it's all obvious to me. Namely, my head was too full of junk and so any gratitude just poured out in the overflow of negativity. Thankfulness just couldn't 'stick.'

Inside my head (and heart) I still resented our moving from a land of endless greenery, lakes, mountains and friends to a (literal) flat, barren, hot desert with no friends. I hated Tom's work schedule--his company was 100 miles away so he'd be gone for four days, then home for four. Our new double-wide mobile home always seemed too hot or too cold. I adored all things old-fashioned, but I was surrounded by all things new-fangled. Nevadans were slow to warm-up to strangers and at church you had to be invited by someone in order to be part of a women's Bible study--and no one had invited me. Ever. (My oh my, was I bitter about that!)

Need I go on?

Well to shorten all this, gratitude only fixed my head, my heart and attitude when I began allowing God to throw out the ugly junk within me. I had to let Him work on me. I had to admit there was junk in there. And over the years, I've had to allow Him to throw away anything which would take away even an inch of space for thankfulness, acceptance, peace and joy.

It's been one long process. Trust me (and the de-junking and tune-ups continue daily). But oh! So very, very worth every pain of humility.


"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." ... copied


Unknown said...

I too had that long road clearing out the doubt & negativity & yes the pain was all worth it. Keep feeding us your nuggets Debra.

Elizabeth said...

Very true Debra! I still struggle with it,especially this time of year.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Dear Debra, this is OT but... It's about books, so I hope that's ok. :-)

I came across a book excerpt, in an old 'Victoria' magazine. Loved it and had to look in my library [on line]. Yes, they have it. And another by her. Who? What? :-)

Janet Gillespie... Who writes: "so you see clearly an era gone by"... Sounds good hu? But then, you probably already know of her.

'A Joyful Noise' was in my old 'Victoria.'

And 'With A Merry Heart' is also in my library system. From a review of this one: "...makes you long for the simpler, slower-paced times gone by."

I really need some books like this, to read now! :-) And my synchrinosity, found them for me, while leafing through old 'Victorias.' [I know, what I call Synchrinosity, you call Grace. And that's fine.]

Gentle Winter hugs...