The Gratitude Initiative, Day 18

Scripture for the day:

I Corinthians 10:1-13

Lessons from Israel’s Idolatry

1 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. 2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. 3 All of them ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, 7 or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.” 8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.

9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. 10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. 11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Oh, snap!

You may have noticed that this comes later in the day than usual, mostly because I’ve spent most of the day being a poophead. I woke up on day 5 of the weirdest sickness I’ve ever had to find a new symptom–spasms that started in my back and ran through my neck to my head.  It made me want to do something morally reprehensible, like throttle a frog. And as I lolled on a hot water bottle with no cheese to go with my whine, I was, frankly, angry. Honestly, I felt, I’ve been grateful long enough, I’ve ‘paid off’ some of my debt to God (yes, you may judge me now), and why the heck wasn’t He honoring that and making it not hurt? It’d be so much easier to be grateful if I was happy.

And then I read the Scripture for today and was kicked in the spiritual teeth. See verse ten? Yup. Kind of humbling when your gratitude for the day is that the Israelites were killed by the angel of death for grumbling, and you haven’t been yet.

It’s good to know that I’ve entirely missed what gratitude is about–giving thanks in all circumstances. No matter what, no expectations attached. While I think this challenge has been a good thing in that it highlights the importance of gratitude, I know that I’ve been phoning in for the past two days–I’ve been finding things to be grateful for, but I haven’t actually pondered them, allowed them to touch my heart, understood God’s goodness toward me in all of them. I’ve been grateful in word only. So my grouchiness today really shouldn’t have taken me by surprise. Of course I’m going to have a LeBron James attitude (ahem. . .entitled much?) if “gratitude” is just another thing on my to do list, rather than an actual heart change I’m pursuing. We’re over halfway through the challenge, and that’s a good thing. But I want this to set a foundation for the rest of my life, and it’s not going to happen if I just check 5 things off a list and move on without seeking to let the Spirit do His thang in my life.

So onward and upward, friends. We’re close.

5 things I’m grateful for:

1) The back pain is gone for now, I’m upright, I’m able to think. The ibuprofen and hot water bottle are at the ready for the next round.

2) Whatever this foot injury is, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I have to finish off two of my summer classes this week, and not being able to work out gives me a couple extra hours each day, while not being able to walk comfortably pretty much chains me to my homework. And I would much rather have it now and enable it to at least be on its way toward healing by the time my summer rolls around.

3) Naps. One of the symptoms of this grab-bag illness has been insomnia, which results in me epitomizing human fallenness. I know lack of sleep isn’t an excuse to sin–but naps are such a nice tool in my pursuit of holiness. During mid-school year, as I start to lose sleep to homework, I’ve been known to take 5-6 naps (the 10 minute variety) a day. I just love them so much.

4) My hair. There have been days when I’ve accused God of crapping out when He got to my hair and just kind of sticking a mop on my head. I hate the stuff. But I have it. And having made 3 donations to Locks of Love, I of all people should know that there are a lot of people who don’t, for reasons I don’t even want to consider.

5) That I grew up in Turkey. I tend to see that as par for the course. “Of course I grew up overseas! Doesn’t everyone?” That’s a negative, Sparky. I love Turkey and the friends I made while in Turkey. Growing up there has shaped me forever, and I think for the better, though I can’t say for certain, having never met “Lauren raised in America.” Oh, and for the record, if you come to my house and give me a genuine iskender right now, you may have my firstborn child. Go ahead, call me Esau.

Ok, folks. Your turn: gratitude, anyone?

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3 thoughts on “The Gratitude Initiative, Day 18

  1. 1. I came to know the Lord because of verse 13 of the above passage. My life has not been the same since:)

    2. I went to see the play, Annie, with my little girl yesterday. I smiled the whole way through and even shed a few tears over the excitement of my favorite childhood movie. I still knew every word to every song.

    3. Eating dinner by candlelight tonight as a family. Fun stuff.

    4. Playing charades by candlelight:)

    5. My daughter says the most hilarious things that just crack us up. Tonight is was, “You are catching a dog and killing it!” My husband was the dog catcher and my son was the dog:)

    P.S. Hope you feel better! Also, I went out and bought the book.

  2. Goodness, girl, I will pray that you feel better! 😦 I am so tired (have been putting off going to bed since its the first night to sleep alone)… please excuse anything miss-spelled or nonsensical below.

    1) The Body of Christ. Wow, people have been coming out of the woodwork to offer us prayer and support. All of the faithful intercession of these prayer warriors sure beats the “hope everything goes well” the world could offer me.

    2) Air conditioning.

    3) The spider I found in the bathroom today. My first reaction was “Why NOW, Lord?” (ok, my FIRST reaction was to inhale all of the oxygen out of the room) because we NEVER see these and, obviously, there is no one here to kill it for me. Immediately, peace washed over me and I was able to say, “Ok, God, we can do this.” And we did. 🙂

    4) Air travel! Even tho this very invention is taking my man far away as I type, today walking around the airport made me so grateful for how the world is at anyones fingertips!

    5) The bunnies in my yard. Adelaide and I never cease to get a thrill from watching them. What can I say? Watership Down hooked me early.

  3. 1) My mom. Who got off work early and is not even going in tomorrow. Why you may ask? To help me pack. Almost there. Will definitely be done by the time I have to leave tomorrow afternoon. Score.

    2) For friends. Old friends like a certain Lauren Wiest who goes back far enough that we have pictures of us sitting on the floor in front of oven waiting for some kid baking project to finish and memories of grand plans for a big cat park. I may have been scared of every creature that moved but I was excited about those lions and tigers. For new friends like Amanda who I really only know from being a fellow bridesmaid for her sister’s wedding. But who was thoughtful enough to look forever for a picture frame that wasn’t too girly and give it to me with a picture of me and the bride before I leave the country. And for seemingly old but actually new friends like Dani. Who, via practically nothing but the internet except for a week long orientation, is closer to me better than a lot of people. I have one sleep left in America but the next will be at her house. And I am excited.

    3) For successfully completely a week long game of phone tag with another good friend, on the last possible night, no less.

    4) For my brother. And the fact that he says that his winning goal tonight was scored in honor of my departure.

    5) That I’m leaving for Germany tomorrow.

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