Well … let’s prove “them” wrong. What do you say?
I’d rather take the time to know what I have while I have it, wouldn’t you?
I was just reading a friend’s blog The View is Great . You’d think from the title of the post it’s about her birthday … but what I saw was a post about thankfulness. She took the time to look around her and really see. From that position of thankfulness this happened:
This is when it hit me…a huge ah ha birthday moment. Even though I’m getting older, there’s still so much left. There are places to go, friends to make, things to experience that I just can’t even imagine now. So much of life is still a mystery to me.
In this new stage of my life, with my mostly empty nest, and with the hype about middle age it would be easy to feel like my life is over. But, I don’t feel that way. As a matter of fact, I feel like things make more sense now. The tough times have taught me to wait on the good. The good times are to be treasured.
It a weapon you know … thankfulness. It pushes back the things that try to steal life from us … like cynicism, criticism, jealousy, doubt, bitterness, being judgmental, hopelessness, and fear to name a few.
I was about to type “and it’s free”; but it’s not. There is a cost to thankfulness because it involves a choice. I wasn’t always aware of this, but each of us make our choices because in some place in our beings we believe we will gain from whatever it is we are choosing.
You’ll have to figure out what you gain by your choices.
What follows is a list of my “gains” that upon further reflection I discovered were actually losses.
- Cynicism – I gained self-protection from being disappointed but it closed the door to joys yet to be discovered.
- Criticism – again I gained self-protection because if you’re wrong and I am right, I don’t have to change. The world becomes a very small place from this vantage point.
- Jealousy – I gained the right to feel sorry for myself but I opened the door to envy. Envy can eat you up quicker than cancer. It is a poison that makes it impossible to participate in the joy of those around you. Personally I want to participate in as much joy as possible!
- Doubt. Ah, the great “what if”. It masqueraded as “caution” in my life. Of course there is a place for caution in our lives … like look both ways before you cross the street (thanks Mom 🙂 ); but doubt can paralyze you like a slow toxin. Rather than being thankful for the unknown and new opportunities you are paralyzed from moving forward by doubt.
- Bitterness. I’ve talked about this one before. Best way I can sum this up “Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the person sitting next to you.”
- Being judgmental. BIG self-protection here. We can rationalize a host of our actions by judging others/things. But the kicker is you truly reap what you sew. The example that comes immediately to mind for me is the experience I have had with acupuncture the last year. For years I “judged” acupuncture as something eastern and dangerous that I had to guard myself against. Why? Because I did not understand it. And, if I judged it as bad it meant I didn’t have to risk checking it out. I was doing the “right” thing but not exposing myself to it. Well, when I got desperate enough after a 12-week migraine to tell God “I’ll do anything” what I heard while my husband prayed for me was the word acupuncture. Unexpected. To make a long story short, God put the pieces in place for me to see an acupuncturist (referred by my pastor … gotta love God’s sense of humor) within 72 hours of that prayer. It has changed my life in so many ways for the positive that will have to be an entirely separate post. You better believe I repented of judging acupuncture as “dangerous and bad” and confessed that judgment as sin and asked God to put the complete work of the cross between me and all consequences of sewing and reaping that judgment. That judgment had separated me for years from exactly what I needed.
- Hopelessness. Immediately I see a picture of quick-sand. It gave me permission to lock that part of my heart away that felt hopeless. Because hopelessness is a bad thing right? So I’ll just lock it away. But all that did was set-up a festering caldron within me. Until I let my heart have a voice and express that hopelessness God could not show me the truth I needed to be freed from it. Don’t get me wrong here. I am NOT saying it easy to make the choice to be thankful when you feel hopeless, but it literally is the life-saver to pull you out of the mire. When I am there, I am thankful that God still loves me (Rom 8:38-39), I am thankful that He will show me the truth I need to destroy the hopelessness if I will only let Him. (Ps 32:5-8)
- Fear. I chose fear for a L-O-N-G time. I thought it kept me safe — safe from getting my heart hurt, safe from what I did not understand, safe from trying and failing, safe from letting you see the real me and not like me. Does anyone see a problem here? What fear actually did was rob me from being fully alive.
So what are you gaining from your choices?
Would you like to choose thankfulness with me? I’ll start:
- I am thankful for my friend who blogged about her birthday and reminded me of the power of thankfulness.
- I am thankful for the nurse practitioner who saw me last night at 7:00 PM to help me with the sudden extreme hip and leg pain I was having while she herself is within a week of delivering her child and was exhausted from her day. I will not forget her kindness to me.
- I am thankful for the medicine they gave me that has eased the pain.
- I am thankful for my husband who has cared for me so diligently through this.
- I am thankful for this day to rest and heal.
- I am thankful for my “amazing grace” blanket that covers me given to me by 3 wonderful friends at the time of my mother’s passing. I just love being covered by amazing grace!
- I am thankful that everywhere I look in my den I see where my husband has worked to make a home I love to be in; from the furniture he has built; to the french doors he put in that would be easier for me to open than sliding doors; to the HD TV and surround system he installed so I could enjoy my NFL football … not to mention the Olympics 🙂
- I am thankful for VPN and the people I work with that have created a system that allows me to be home and heal and still have access to my office if needed.
- I am thankful for comfy slippers and pj’s.
- I am thankful for the fireplace across from me and the picture that hangs above it that reminds me of love in so many ways.
- I am thankful for windows to look out and enjoy God’s creation even when I am indoors.
- I am thankful that in 2 hours I get to see my acupuncturist!
- I am thankful for this quote my husband just shared with me from John Lennon “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop, take a look around, see anything for which to be thankful? I’d love to hear your thankful list!
Together we’ll prove “them” wrong. We will know what we have before it is gone … yup … that’s what I’m talking about.