Feigning Gratitude

Before Christmas, Jimmy Kimmel did something some might call cruel. He asked parents to give their children ‘terrible’ Christmas presents and to capture  their reaction, their disappointment, and occasionally their anger, on video. Personally, I think that the videos that ensued were hilarious. (But then again I’m not going to be the one paying for these kid’s therapy down the road.) And…there is something beautiful about these kid’s raw and honest reactions. They haven’t learned to feign gratitude. They call a spade, a spade. They call a half-eaten sandwich, a half-eaten sandwich. (Warning: One of the boys borders on inappropriate.)

I see myself in those kids. Especially the little girl who is trying to get to the bottom of why her mother would wrap up a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich and call it a gift. She isn’t trying to be high maintenance or particular. She doesn’t want to be disrespectful. She doesn’t want to hurt her mother’s feelings. But clearly she just doesn’t get it and she can’t hide her questions, her disappointment, and her frustration.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful. I don’t want my disappointment to be misconstrued for lack of love, faith, or even trust. I don’t want to want what I don’t have.

I know that I have received gifts many people would die for. A great job. A welcoming community. A beautiful place to live. An opportunity to speak into the lives of others. But while they are more than I deserve, they aren’t what my heart so primally desires. And some days what my heart desires feels farther away than ever. To be known. To find a person to share my life with. To raise kids. To leave a legacy of love.

So here I sit, wrestling, negotiating, pleading. Wondering why He is withholding ‘the good stuff’? Wondering why the desire lies in waiting? And wondering why I can’t continue to feign gratitude about my ‘half-eaten sandwich’?

 What are you feigning gratitude about? What are you wrestling over? 

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club. She spends her days (and some nights) laboring to end childhood hunger at Feed the Children and to gather, equip and unleash women at IF:Gathering.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • It reminds me of Joseph. He was promised great things, and then shortly afterwards thrown into  a well and eventually prison. Eventually the dream came true, but it took a really long time. The key, though, is learning from those moments in between. Thanks for sharing this, Lindsey.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, a lot greater people than me have waited a lot longer than I will wait. 

      • I hope you didn’t take that as criticism. I intended to admire Joseph’s patience and persistence.

        • Anonymous

          Oh I didn’t. At all. 🙂

  • Christianwriter9001

    This article is a bit of an extreme in the other direction, and its language is not particularly safe for work. But it represents the other side of the coin about feigning gratitude.

    http://www.violentacres.com/archives/62/early-christmas-for-the-ingrate/

    Food for thought, anyway.

  • Athecay

    Thanks Lindsey for sharing! It right to the spot with me. I’ve been feeling the same way, but I moved away from most of my friends and now have this funky life where I barely see my friends.  I guess it just adds to the already feeling of loneliness, but I always try to focus on Him especially in those questioning times. I believe He really wants you and me to have those desires because He was the one who gave them to us and He will bring that person to share life with and those children to love. Thanks for always being honest…it really does make an impact on others.

  • Anonymous

    yes
    oh yes ma’am… I’m sure there are differences, but I know this feeling. I get you.

    • Anonymous

      I bet you do. 🙂

  • Wow I so hear you and I too relate with the pb sandwich girl…I appreciate it but it’s not what I was expecting….this so makes me think a bit more…yet it seems people like to say oh it’s not a pb sandwich it really is the four course meal you just can’t see it yet. Hm thanks for making me think!

  • Oh, I so get this, Lindsey.  One example: I just wrote a post on Friday about the privileges of singleness- because they are there.  But I also wrote that I hope this season is temporary and that I have days where I’m less grateful for the gifts and lessons learned.  I don’t understand why I’m still single but I have to believe that there’s a purpose and that God is using it.  I’m grateful that I don’t have to feign gratitude with Him- He gets the unadulterated version of how I’m feeling all the time and He can handle it.

    • Anonymous

      “I’m grateful that I don’t have to feign gratitude with Him- He gets the unadulterated version of how I’m feeling all the time and He can handle it.” 
      Wonderfully said. 

  • Andrea

    I completely hear what you’re saying and I absolutely respect your honesty.  I’ve been in the exact “waiting place” that you describe here.  (And I, too, think some of these videos were pretty funny!)  I think the main difference here is that He hasn’t given you a “terrible” present (not that I think you are remotely saying that He has) but that’s important to remember.  He’s given all of us some amazing gifts…even if they’re not yet the “big ticket items” for which we deeply long.  It’s also important to remind yourself daily that He has a purpose in His plan…and most of all in His timing.  That is greatly comforting in the wait.  It may not ease the pain or make the time go faster, but it is comforting to remember that He has a purpose, even in withholding what seem to us like “good” things.  Having been where you are and now being a wife and mom, I can tell you that there are moments in the day when I am jealous of single girls and the vast amount of time they have to do anything they want.  In those moments, however, I am quick to remember that I, too, had that vast amount of free time (and unlimited amounts of sleep!) once upon a time – and I’m honestly glad that I had it for as long as I did.  Although I wouldn’t have said so at the time, being single for so long allowed me time to pursue a career, travel a lot, invest in my friends, cultivate hobbies and just generally be me.  So now that my life isn’t remotely about me (like, almost never!) it’s nice to have had that time – and now to look back on it and remember how much fun that was for that season and how wonderful this is for this season.  God knew that had I been one of those girls who married right out of college and had kids right away, I wouldn’t have had that time to live, to explore, to learn more about His ways and to learn how to be me comfortably before He called me to completely deny that self every single day to be a mom that puts her children first.  Although other timing is obviously right for some people, that wasn’t how He chose to deal with me.  And I have to admit, as much as I wrestled at the time, I can definitely see good in that waiting time.  And that’s a really good thing for me to remember going forward, because at the end of the day, we’re all in a waiting season ALL the time.  We want to grow up, to go off to college and be our own person, to have a career, to get married, to have kids, to have our kids grow up a little to be “easier”, to buy our dream house, to enjoy an empty nest and time with our spouse again, to stop working so hard and enjoy retirement…It’s always something, right?  In reality, what your heart primally desires most of all is eternity – that’s the only thing that will truly satisfy that God-shaped void.  Marriage and children are definitely a glimpse of that eternity – a reflection of God’s love for us – and they are absolutely wonderful (both unbelievably difficult and simultaneously even more so, rewarding) but they’re still not the ultimate satisfaction.  I know that you know all that, but sometimes I think it’s helpful to hear it again – from someone who has been there.  And, I think that both God and people respect our honesty far more than feigned gratitude.  It takes a lot more courage to be honest – and your legacy is the better for it, Lindsey.  Go you!

    • Anonymous

      Andrea, 
      So appreciate your thoughts. I agree with you wholeheartedly, about everything. And yes, it is helpful to hear again.
      Lindsey

  • Yep. I’m right there with you girl. 

  • I absolutely get this! I know that I have a good life- a great job, good friends and family, etc. but find my heart wanting something more. I know that I should be content in all circumstances but as more and more friends gain what my heart longs for contentment grows harder and harder. Thanks for being such a refreshing voice of honestly for us in the waiting season!

  • Cherith

    I love this!  I am here too… crying out to God…but when I read this it also encouraged me. 

    You see for the last few months even though you don’t know me, I have been praying for you specifically that God would bring someone into your life and preparing him for you as well.  For some reason, God directed me to add you to my list after reading some of your things on twitter, etc. 
     
    So…know that on my way to work in DC, there is someone many days lifting your hearts desire to the Lord!

    • Anonymous

      Wow. Thank you Cherith. 

  • Iesha

    I understand. I completely understand.  

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  • Carrie

    I hear you, Lindsey and we are in the same boat.  Thank you for posting.  Not to be Debbie Downer but some people are commenting like all you need to do is wait, when the truth is you might wait forever and not have your dreams fulfilled.  For people that felt like they waiting and then it happened they think that is the answer.  Just be patient. But it doesn’t happen for everyone.  Time is not always the answer.  I don’t know what the answer is because I haven’t found it, but sometimes I wonder if there aren’t a lot of things that just don’t turn out the way God would have them in His perfect economy because we live in a fallen world.  Single people who want to marry but never do, women longing for a child they will never have, families torn apart waiting to be mended.  He is able, but He has never promised to give us these things.  He has only promised Himself.  If our dreams never come true, He has to be enough.  I would love for someone to post a different view, but I’m just saying that time and waiting and patience isn’t always the answer.

    • Well said!  If it were just a matter of being patient for a while – I could do that, I could be patient for a guaranteed outcome, no problem, no wrestling required.  But the fact that the thing my heart “so primally desires” isn’t guaranteed, isn’t promised – that there’s where the wrestling starts, where the pleading begins.

      This is a little off-topic of the original post (which, btdubs, was so good, Lindsey! loved the analogy to the kids in the video – very fitting!) but I often get frustrated when the advice I’m given is to just be patient and enjoy this “temporary season.”  The struggle (for me, at least) is rather to get my heart to a place with God where I can truly believe there’s a good plan, and good gifts, in store for me, apart from the “big ticket item” that may never be mine.

  • in the same boat with you, girl. love what carrie said. and i love how you turned that video upside-down. (right-side up?)
    which, incidentally, this video is HYSTERICAL. and there are a couple of those kids who are a good reminder to me that the grass isn’t always greener.i know. another cliche. whaddayagonnado. 

    xo