Spiritual Formation Part Eleven – Gratitude

While reading and studying how we grow spiritually, I found an interesting correlation between resentment, gratitude and our spiritual growth. It was Henri Nouwen that brought this to light in his book Spiritual Formation – Following the Movements of the Spirit.

As with most things I read, I may not necessarily agree with everything an author says but I try to not throw the baby out with the bath water.

So I thought I might just highlight some of his thoughts and see if you agree that when we move from resentment to gratitude it allows us to be more receptive to Jesus. Maybe it’s something that you keep resenting that is keeping you away from all that Christ wants you to be. So here are some of Nouwen’s thoughts for you to decide.

Nouwen: When we swallow our angry feelings and do not make them known, resentment settles in.

Nouwen: When you cling to your complaints, your heart is full of resentment, and there is no room for God to enter and set you free.

Nouwen: Gratitude is the attitude that enables us to let go of anger, receive the hidden gifts of those we want to serve, and make these gifts visible to the community as a source of celebration.

Nouwen: Resentment blocks action; gratitude lets us move forward toward new possibilities.

Nouwen: Spiritual Formation is the way by which resentment can slowly be transformed into gratitude.

Nouwen: In real formation, God is allowed to carve into the rock of our soul and pull out any stones of resentment.

Nouwen: To be healed of resentment and move into gratitude requires me to dance – to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life.

I want to encourage you to practice gratitude and see what happens in your spiritual life – I bet it’s going to be a catalyst for spiritual growth!

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