Friday, January 6, 2023

What Might Be Blocking Your Gratitude


By: Sarah Geringer

I pour out my complaints before him
    and tell him all my troubles.
Psalm 142:2 NLT

What might be blocking your gratitude? I was surprised to learn what was my blockade to gratitude in the past few months.

While talking with my best friend, she observed something. I told her all the ways I was trying to process my trauma while holding onto my faith as hard as I could. Gratitude was one of those ways I used to try to move forward.

Gratitude is always a good thing. In fact, God tells us to practice it in all things (1 Thess. 5:18). Yet, if we are in a season of suffering and grief, we may need to do something else first.

My friend helped me see that gratitude had become drudgery to me. It was just a spiritual motion I was going through out of duty. But there was a way to bring joy back into my gratitude. I needed to spend more time each day processing my pain before God first, then thanking him for who he is despite my problems.

Lament is pouring out our complaints to God and telling him our troubles. Over one-third of the Psalms are laments. They start with laying out problems, then end with affirming God's unchanging character. Those two pieces - complaint and affirmation - are keys to lament.

If we don't first process our lament, it can block our gratitude. I was still saying thank you for the little things in my life and thanking God for his ways. But my pain was blocking the way for true gratitude, which made it feel as if I was going through motions of faith.

When I practiced lament first, my gratitude became more honest. My pain was out of the way, so I could feel more joyful and free when offering my thanks to God.

What might be blocking your gratitude? Make this shift to experience joy again.

Putting lament before gratitude won't change your situation, but it will change your attitude. What I've started doing is keeping separate journals. First, I write in one dedicated to processing my pain and anger over my trauma. Next, I write in my gratitude journal. Keeping this order makes my connection to God more open and true.

I pray that if your gratitude has been blocked, this devotion helped you. Find a list of the psalms of lament HERE, and use them in your prayer life before you practice gratitude. If you want me to pray for you, reach out to me HERE.

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Reflection questions:

1. When has unprocessed pain or trauma blocked your gratitude?
2. How might praying the psalms of lament deepen your connection with God?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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