A while back I learned a great lesson involving thankfulness. Not just an appreciation for my marriage, family and the life I lead but a real genuine heart felt thankfulness. When I least expected my world to turn sideways, it did. And it did so from a completely unthinkable direction!
The problem is more often than not we get so wrapped up, so busy in this life we forget to stop and smell the roses as they say. We end up so lost in our lists, our tasks and in our self-contained worlds we take for granted the foundation holding it all together. It's not in any way we mean to overlook our blessings, no matter how small, but we do. We slowly begin taking not just our material possessions for granted but more importantly our relationships. Sadly we stop tending our own patches of green and begin admiring, desiring, craving and wanting our neighbors sparkling gardens a little too much, a little more often. Before long the beauty in our own lives has dulled, seemingly losing the sparkle we fondly but barely remember.
Life lesson #32: Find your thankful place, your patch of gratefulness and burrow in. Believe me; the grass isn’t greener on the other side!
The sad truth about life these days is we are so busy looking for the beautiful forest just ahead of us we fail to see we've already arrived. We miss our present, current surroundings because we're so eager, so excited, expecting the next best thing we can't see the forest for the trees. In those moments we lose pieces of ourselves, chipping away at our thankfulness, and many times building more of a resentment driven reality. By the time we have figured out we have all we ever wanted, we are close to losing everything.
James 1:17 is one of my favorite verses when I need reminding of this. It says, “Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning.” (Good News Version)
So maybe, just maybe we need to slow our pace down, quit running around, ignoring mental stop signs. Maybe it's possible to begin slowing our minds to a manageable speed, paying attention to the direction we're moving in. Life is all about realizing boundaries, accepting no matter how big or small, they're there for our well-being. Like a yield sign, you have to slow down long enough to look both ways. How can we expect to make it safely to our destination if we keep running red lights? Doesn’t our driving, the way we navigate through the traffic around us become questionable or dangerous? If we keep swerving in and out continually we miss opportunities, even turns we need to make. And why pray-tell? Simply put it's because we're in such a dog gone hurry to get there! Sometimes it’s not that we’re going in the wrong direction, it’s just the way we’re trying to get there that’s the problem. The reality is we have to slow down, stop crossing double lines in a no passing zone and just enjoy the drive.
For me I had to literally come to a complete stop. I wasn’t looking or paying attention to the rate of speed my life was accelerating at. Suddenly without notice my fork in the road came out of nowhere, in the middle of no man’s land. I was so caught up in tending to the radio, wiping the dust off the dashboard, fusing about the noise in the backseat and pulling things out of the glove box I almost failed to see one of the most important decisions of my life. We can take a more direct route or a detour, and we don’t always have to give up our hopes and dreams in the process either. All we have to do is be considerate of those traveling the roads of life with us, merging our lives while appreciating the unique gifts we have and not become afraid of taking a different path than the one we imagined. So my question is this: where is your fork in the road? Will you be able to see it coming before it’s too late? And when you do, what direction will you take?
This is the thing about thankfulness, we have to recognize our own blessings, the beauty our lives contain all by their lil' ol selves. We can admire and respect those things we wish we had BUT we can’t increase our favor by devaluing our own blessings. If we could just take the time to recognize, acknowledge, comprehend and completely grasp these beautiful gifts we have been given, even with all their imperfections, we’d realize they are each perfectly fitted to our needs. We’d ultimately live more abundant lives. Thankfulness, ya it can be tricky, but once you grab hold of it, own it, appreciate it, you won’t want to live any other way.