I've been putting off this review of Choosing Gratitude. Though I know the book speaks many truths, I am not prepared to choose gratitude each day...in each moment. For all things. Choosing Gratitude is exactly what I needed. I can be critical and full of complaints. Though I do try to speak carefully of other people, I still tend to complain about the situations about me. And really, it doesn't matter what I say and do...it's my heart that matters.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a gifted teacher of God's Word. This book spoke boldly to me, as did The Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free she wrote. Like many authors of the books that help me grow in my spiritual walk, Nancy is not cautious to speak Truth; nor is she above the sin she is discussing. She included a lengthy afterward called "A Personal PS: For those who feel, 'I just can't give thanks in all things!'" In it, she spoke directly of her own admission-while writing this book- of the gap between her own heart and the content of the book.
Choosing Gratitude has reiterated some of my pastor's teachings about the way we ought to live. Repeatedly, he testifies to the fact that we are greatly blessed and we need to give our gratitude to God for the way he lavishly gives us grace. God doesn't just want our obedience. He wants us to be doing grateful things because we have a truly grateful heart.
"The beauty of Christian gratitude is that one little act of thanksgiving on our part-when directed toward or inspired by its rightful Recipient-can bound and rebound from one end of the kingdom to the other, not only blessing God, not only benefiting us, but even lodging itself in places and in people where God's love might never have been received any other way." ~ p. 39
In the chapter "No Thanks," conviction took me by surprise. I don't typically think that I compare myself to others, but she brought out the danger of focusing on myself.
"It is every bit as dangerous and deceptive for us to focus on the many sacrifices we're making, the hard work we're performing, the extra hours we're putting in, comparing our level of labor and commitment with what others are investing. Any time our focus is on ourselves-even if it's on the good things we're doing, it keeps us from being grateful for what others are contributing. We lose our appreciation for our spouse, children, friends, and coworkers when we constantly view them through our own shadow." ~ p. 56
The chapter "Not Without Sacrifice" discusses the heartaches and challenges that we often experience. The true blessing of these challenges, whatever they may be, is they make us need God. God still provides us with the choice of whining or honoring him.
"The choice before you and me today is: Do we only give glory to God for the part of our life that's going the way we want? Or do we worship Him, trust Him, and give Him thanks, just because He is God-regardless of the dark, painful, incomprehensible places we encounter on our journey?" ~ p. 139
Those are difficult words to hear in the midst of our darkest days. But it's true. It is a choice. We will sacrifice either way. Is it really worth it to choose bitterness and complaining, to choose a gloomy disposition while dragging ourselves through the dark days? Does it improve the pain? Instead, I would rather not withdraw from God and remain in His presence during those dark days, though it will be a sacrifice.
If we are whining (aloud or in our hearts) then we are not worshiping God. He gives us grace every day, and in every way. Let's be thankful for it!
I highly recommend Choosing Gratitude. I have completed the core of the book and am now working through the 30-Day Devotional that is included in the back of the book. (So nice that it is not a separate purchase!)
Thank you, Moody Publishers, for providing this book for review purposes.