Watch Out--Katie's Choosing Gratitude!

Thanks to Google Alerts, I stumbled across Katie Stromwall’s blog, and her March 14th announcement that she’d just bought Nancy’s book Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy. “For some reason,” she writes, “I am up for (more like desperate for) Nancy’s challenge of ‘choosing gratitude.’”

Today I want to share with you parts of the post Katie wrote during her first week of reading Choosing Gratitude titled, “Choosing Gratitude: This is Hard!” I love Katie’s transparency, and her grip on grace and the Gospel. You can read the rest of her post—and follow her Choosing Gratitude journey—on www.KatieStromwall.com/Blog.html. (And as always, thanks for being a part of the True Woman Blog Community. It wouldn’t be the same without you!) 

“So my first week of reading Choosing Gratitude was really revealing of how much of a complainer I really am. You’d think setting out on a quest to learn to be more grateful would be easy, right? It’s as if with each page something to complain about decided to newsflash across my mind. I’d read a few pages and then go about my day to find myself startlingly aware of this thing that seems to nag me day in and day out—it’s my false sense of entitlement. Wow, what a work the Lord set in to do when He decided to make me His daughter.

“I think I am starting to understand that He takes really weak, broken, squashed, seemingly unchangeable, stubborn, proud, cowardly and wandering lost people as His craftsmanship. Yep, that’s me. If you ever thought I was pretty, think again! There are loads of things that need to be taken to the dump just taking up empty space in my heart. I’m convinced God really loves me and therefore wants to go in and do some spring cleaning in my soul . . .

“Nancy DeMoss challenges me by reminding me “Unfortunately, reading a book on gratitude does not make a person grateful! And ungrateful people don’t become grateful overnight. Nor do we become grateful by merely thinking about it or wishing to be more so. Like any other virtue, a grateful spirit is the work of God’s Spirit within the life of a believer who is purposeful about putting off fleshly inclinations and cultivating spiritual ones. And that takes time, effort, and focused attention.”

“Time, effort, and focused attention are not always my fortes, but I’m not a hopeless case! In the midst of heightened awareness of my sin I remind myself of 2 Corinthians 9:8 ‘And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.’

“So I guess you could say my first week of this book revealed how unable I am to produce this fruit of His Spirit in my life. Now I will say that it’s not like my ‘ungratefulness’ is outwardly noticeable. It’s not like I walk around complaining and whining to everyone that I meet and see, for that wouldn’t be “polite” and who wants to voluntarily be a Debbie Downer? If you know me, you’re probably not going to categorize me as an ungrateful brat at first glance. But it’s apparent in my inward attitude, the thoughts that I think, the way that I can treat my husband when my agenda gets interrupted or things don’t go my way. When my expectations don’t get met, you can bet: out comes the grumbling, complaining Katie who likes to live behind closed doors most of the time. Well, you sure don’t want to be behind closed doors with me when I don’t get my way! . . .

“Even though I’m in the 'Terrible Two’s' phase of this whole thing—the phase where I whine and complain and bark out all kinds of untrue Me Me Me commands when I don’t get my way, I can already see the Holy Spirit at work.

“May I point out one evidence of grace? That I am now aware of it! For so long, I’ve been in denial. Not even denial, just total ignorance of this sin in me. Not ever aware that it existed until now. So this is where change begins, I believe! When you become aware of new areas of sin, selfish patterns of thinking and feeling, you can start to look at yourself a little more clearly in the mirror. You can start admitting what is really true and confessing to God all of your need.

“Another evidence of grace: I’m talking about this a lot with God and my husband. I’m repenting more frequently. I’m seeing what a good God and Father I really have—that there is no room for grumbling and complaining when we have His kingdom to advance and when we are promised ‘fullness of joy in his presence’ (Psalm 16:11) . . .”

PS: If you’re inspired to join Katie in your own personal journey to joy--through choosing gratitude--you might want to take Nancy’s 30-Day Gratitude Challenge, or check out these Choosing Gratitude resources.

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About the Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula Marsteller

Paula has served with Revive Our Hearts for thirteen years. She is the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom. There's nothing she loves to share more than the gospel-centered truths that have so transformed her own life: what it means on a daily basis to be "dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus." Paula, Trevor, and their son, Iren, make their home in New York.

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