Stuck in the First Chapter.

Do everything without complaining or arguing.

Philippians 2:14 (NIV)

If I pitched a story to an agent or editor that promised an engaging and entertaining plot featuring sympathetic, relatable characters, riveting tension, twists and turns, the assurance of justice, mercy, character transformation, and a happily ever after, the chance of garnering interest are solid.

It might land me a contract offer. 

But what if I only submitted the first chapter? Because—stuck in a tenacious grip of ingratitude over the pain of disappointment, suffering, or hardship—that’s all I was willing (and able) to tell?

Grumbling, complaint, ingratitude. 

Our life is our most creative act, a story we tell the world about God. At the least, a life characterized by complaint makes for an uninteresting story. At worst, it muddies the truth about who God is.

And may I suggest that the genre God writes in our lives is an inspirational romance?

Because, by definition, a romance must at have three key elements, each of which are found in scripture: 

A hero (God)

A heroine (the Bride of Christ)

A happy ending between the two. 

If we are God’s medium with which He creates a great story, what does ingratitude tell the world about Jesus, the hero?

He’s not to be trusted. (He is forever faithful)

His love falls short. (His love is unfailing and endures forever.)

If he really cared, he wouldn’t allow this suffering or withhold things we ask. (He is wholly good and gives more than we ask or imagine.)

Refusing to move past the pain amounts to a life stuck in chapter one. A story no one wants to read.

When have you let ingratitude stall and muddle the beauty of your story?

NOTE: This post was inspired by The Artisan Soul, by Erwin Raphael McManus

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah Soon says:

    Thank you Mary for this convicting post! I have struggled with ingratitude for a long time, but recognizing its stranglehold on my life. And yes, it kept me stuck on chapter 1-and what an uninspiring reflection of God. It amazes me how my perspective, energy, creativity, and productivity increases when I practice walking in gratitude!

    • Mary Felkins says:

      The more I become a student of this issue, the more I realize how serious it is in God’s eyes. If only Eve hadn’t nursed ingratitude as she gazed at the tree …It does sap creativity, draining energy away from the beauty of story creation.
      Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

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