If there was a contest for ungratefulness, I’m pretty sure I’d come in first place. Honestly, I do such an incredible job at looking at the negative side of things and nitpicking until I find something to be unhappy about–something that makes me cross my arms and clench my fists.
To be honest, when things don’t go the way I plan, my first reaction is to complain–I gripe and gripe, thinking it will somehow change my circumstances or better the situation. But the truth is this: my complaining only makes things worse. It causes me to harbor discontentment in my heart. And it makes me yearn for control over things I can’t change.
But the best way to combat a complaining spirit is to embrace the Cross. For this, I turn to a favorite hymn:
When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.
– When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
What reason do I have to be ungrateful, considering such a sacrifice was made on my account? How can I moan and grumble about my circumstances when Christ suffered and gave everything so that I might live? This truth alone, which is made clear to us in the gospels, is all the reason I need to change my attitude. And even more so, this gift of salvation is something I don’t have to earn.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
So I unclench my fists. I put on my music. I get out my pen. I flip open the notebook. I make a list of blessings — beginning with the Cross. I pray. And I give thanks.