Oh, how I wish you could have seen the palette of colors the Lord displayed this year in Michigan. The trees were filled with shades of red, orange, and yellow that grew more brilliant each day. It really was a spectacular season!
While I enjoy the changing colors and crisp autumn temperatures, I’m really more of a summer girl at heart. My heart thrills at the thought of long summer days filled with the sun’s warmth, the fragrance of freshly mowed grass, and the beauty of flower gardens bursting with color.
Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? It might be, if only we didn’t have to contend with those unsightly, uninvited, menacing intruders called weeds! Weeds crop up overnight, seem to thrive in the most adverse conditions, and in a matter of days can overtake an otherwise picturesque scene.
I’ve battled a fair amount of weeds in my flower garden this year, but the greater battle by far has been with the weeds I’m discovering in my own heart. The ones Nancy calls “stubborn weeds of ingratitude.”
To be honest, I’m a bit surprised by these unsightly intruders in my life. Not because I’m oblivious to their existence—it’s just that I’ve never considered ingratitude as a problem in my life. The word itself sounds so . . . well, insensitive, self-centered, actually sinful. I guess I’ve seen my personal weeds as a little more “acceptable” than that.
You see, I’m a fairly optimistic person by nature. I love life, I love people, and even in the darkest of circumstances, I can usually find a glimmer of God’s hope.
But for several months some dark clouds of hopelessness had settled over my mind. I’d found myself overwhelmed by the needs and suffering of those around me--financial hardship weighed heavily on so many; marital conflict threatened to destroy the marriages of others; while physical disease and suffering afflicted countless others. Daily life seemed increasingly hard. Uninvited weeds of discouragement and soul weariness threatened to overtake my heart and mind.
In the midst of this dark valley, Nancy’s gift of Choosing Gratitude seemed of little significance. After all, I needed help uprooting the real weeds of life—not trivial little weeds like ingratitude. Then I read her statement “Lack of gratitude rarely presents itself as the source of our problems.” I was intrigued.
A few days later I read Deuteronomy 28:47-48, “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.”
I was stunned! Was it possible that a “little weed” of ingratitude was at the heart of my struggle? And if so, how could I ensure all traces of this uninvited intruder were eradicated from my life? Choosing Gratitude suddenly seemed vitally important!
How about you? I’d love to hear where you’re at—are you fairly “weed-free” or in need of some serious uprooting?