With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I have found myself often stumbling upon the theme of gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says it is God’s will for those who belong to Jesus to be thankful in all circumstances. My heart has been so absolutely full these past few months — so much GOOD surrounding me: people, plans, places…I don’t think I take near the amount of time I should to fully appreciate it all. I could try to squeeze them all in one blog, but I think it would do both you, as a reader, and me, someone who really needs to focus on just how GRATEFUL I am/should be for these things, a favor if I separated them into different posts rather than one extremely, very, very long blog post. Thus, I give you … The Gratitude Series.
So, it’s Monday. I wake up, hit the snooze button about three times on my phone before fumbling blindly around my nightstand to check how late it is… 7:30!? Shoot, I’m gonna be late for school. I roll out of bed. Getting ready, I check the weather (as it seems to be ever-changing these days). 65 degrees right now and 81 by the time I get out of class. How am I supposed to dress for that?! Irritated, I try on/throw off about 5 or 6 different combinations of outfits; sweaters with jeans and flats, T-shirts with cardigans, T-shirts with converse, and about everything in between before finally deciding a v-neck and jeans is the final choice and I will just freeze until it heats up outside later during the day. Driving to school, my check engine light comes on. UGH, seriously!? I can’t afford to have my car in the shop this week! I don’t have a single day this week where I’ll have time to be car-less. Frustrated, I plug in my phone to turn some music on to distract me from the plethora of problems I already feel knee-deep in by 8 A.M. Skip. Next. Skip. Sick of that song. Sick of that one. Finally, I just shut off all the music and drive in angry silence because I’m sick of every song that just came on. I need more music on my phone. Almost to school, I check the clock… I have time for Starbucks, YES! I have a free drink reward I can use, too! I pull up to the drive-thru. It takes forever. Now I’m really gonna be late. I finally get to the window and…my free drink reward isn’t going through. Ugh. Am I really gonna have to pay the full $3.45 for this drink when I could be getting it for free? Finally, a whole $4 poorer, I race out of the drive-thru and to school. I’m walking to class. The wind is blowing. I’m freezing. Gosh, I wish I would have just kept on that first outfit. I roll into class, I’ve missed the whole first two pages of notes the professor was giving. My coffee is too hot to drink. I paid full-price for it. I look down at my shirt, andddd I’ve got a toothpaste stain on it. SERIIIIIIIOUSLY? It’s only 8:30 A.M. The rest of my day continued on like this, with the addition of tripping up the stairs, forgetting to pack a lunch, traffic jams/construction everywhere in Cypress, not having a big enough bag to wrap my nephew’s birthday gift in, so I show up to his birthday dinner with his new toy “wrapped” in my jacket — literally — and so on.
This was my Monday.
But seriously, what is this disgusting attitude I have? Call it waking up on the wrong side of the bed, a bad case of the Monday’s, or whatever you will… I know what I’ll call it – ungrateful. This is how my Monday should have looked:
• ” I press the snooze button on my phone about three times.” My phone.. my iPhone 5, that I was fortunate enough to have a job that allowed me to buy myself a nice phone. Oh, life is rough.
• Finally wake up… just a little too late – umm… oops.
• “Time to get dressed. Irritated, I try on/throw on 5-6 different combinations of outfits.”
Man, this weather is all over the place. GOOD THING I’ve got more than enough sweaters to keep me warm in this cold weather, and even more t-shirts that I can layer under those sweaters if by some awful chance this beautiful SoCal weather becomes just a little TOO hot for me.
• “Driving to school” – lets just stop it right there.
I’m DRIVING. I have a car. MY own car. It not only gets me from point A to point B, but it is gas-efficient, safe, & I am somehow blessed for it to be MINE. Thank you, God.
• “Check Engine light comes on” – uh-oh.
God, get me to school safely, help this to not be too expensive of a problem.
•”I need new music on my phone.”
Can you say “first world problems” !?
• “My free drink reward at Starbucks isn’t working.
Need I repeat the previous point again?
• “I get to school late.”
Well for starters, I’m at school. How many kids in the world can say that? In America, probably quite a few. But in other parts of the world — not many. Check your heart.
• “I’m freezing.”
No, “freezing” is a word you could use to describe someone that sleeps on a bus stop because he doesn’t have a home or bed to climb into. You have a closet full of jackets at home. Boo-hoo.
• “I’m two pages behind on notes.”
Heaven forbid I have to TALK to someone and just ask to see their’s.
• “My full-priced coffee is too hot to drink.”
Really, with the first world problem thing.
And friends, need I remind you, it was only 8:30 A.M. What is this attitude I have? This ungratefulness for things around me that I am clearly taking for granted? This doesn’t sound like a heart that is filled with Jesus’ love, and the fruits of His spirit.
Instead of all of the “ugh”‘s and the “seriiiiiiiously right now?!”‘s I need to say, “Thank you” to God for the things I take for granted. Thank you for a warm bed I got to wake up in (even if I was running late), that I have a large closet of clothes to choose weather-friendly outfits from, for a running car to take me where I need to go, for the fact I live in a country where I have the freedom to go to school and pursue my dreams, for Starbucks, even when I have to pay a full $3.45 for my coffee… thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU God for Starbucks… 😉
I need to remember I have small problems because I have great blessings, like a “check engine” light coming on because I HAVE a car. I have a small problem of being behind on notes in class because I have the OPPORTUNITY to go to school, (aaaaaaand because I chose to go through Starbucks when I was already late. hehe.) I have a hard time finding an outfit to wear to school because I have WAY TOO MANY options in my closet AND because Southern California weather is too amazing to stay even somewhat cold all day. First of all, if these are even considered “problems” in my day, life must be pretty great.
A grateful heart would stop seeing these things as problems and start seeing them as minor bumps that come with the bigger blessings I’m not being grateful for.
So, my prayer is just that:
God, thank you for all of these things. Thank you God for all these things and the other hundred things I was ungrateful for this morning and everyday. Thank you for giving me so much more than I deserve and for forgiving each and every one of these ugly moments of ungratefulness I have. When things are going wrong in the morning, the afternoon or the evening, give me a grateful heart.
Give me a grateful heart for all things – big or small.
Thank you for the things I complain about.
Have you been in this place before? What’s your best way to get yourself back into a grateful mindset?
I’d love to hear from you!