(This post was written last night, Thanksgiving Eve.)
Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28: 6-7
While window shopping today I saw something I decided I just had to have. They were Christmas ornaments. $10 would purchase 2 of the collection of 15 ornaments. Sure, I've got tons of ornaments at home, but still. As I looked longer at the selection before me I became frustrated. Suddenly 2 ornaments didn't seem like enough. As I rifled through the selection anxiety crept up. How could I have them all if I only had $10? I wanted them all!
Though my experience in the store may seem trivial to you, it was not to me. We're talking about stupid ornaments, right? Still, something about it rocked my core, forcing me to ask myself: Am I thankful for what I already have?
For a split second, completely surrounded by sparkly this and plastic molded that, I stepped back from myself just far enough to hear the Holy Spirit. "When will it ever be enough?"
You know those moments in movies when the world spins and the character stands motionless amidst the confusion? That was me. With an ornament in each hand I realized there would always be more situations like this one. True, next time it might be a toy for my child, a book for my collection, or $4 coffee, but even then, what constitutes "enough"?
The cursor blinks, waiting for me answer that question. So here I go.
The truth is I don't look at what's around me as though it is a gift. Instead, I take many things - people, food, clothes, humor, relationships - even Christ - for granted. I live life assuming there's always something out there that can improve upon my current circumstance. I've bought into a lie that says "enough" is defined as "a little more than what I've got now".
This skewed perspective has perverted my thinking about what God has given me. These are a few areas of unthankfulness I've discovered:
I should be thankful God has given me a home to bless others. Instead, I see carpet that needs replaced and a couch with lumpy cushions.
The Lord has placed dozens of women around me every day. But I've been known to embrace loneliness instead. What's more, I've called it being thankful for time to myself.
Of course I have a car and it runs well. But the bumper's dented from an accident. It's embarrassing. But not as embarrassing as my attitude about it.
My husband is fantastic. But he won't mind if I ignore him while I catch up on e-mail, again. Or will he?
My Bible is forsaken for a novel. Then later that day I wonder why God seems so distant. And why I don't feel satisfied.
And this evening, I thought I had "extra" money. But if Jesus is Lord of my life, is that really my money in the first place? Instead of answering that question I contemplate 2 ornaments, frustrated because I can't have more.
I guess you could say I'm the girl in the corner with the glass half empty. I'd die of thirst before realizing there's water right in front of me. Being less than thankful can do that.
As I put the ornaments down, He drew me back to see so much more than the display. Very clearly I saw this truth: I need nothing. Until I am thankful for every stick of furniture, every shirt I wear, every food I eat, every relationship that crosses my path - until then, I don't need another distraction. All I need is Him. For me this will be a discipline of thankfulness and self control; to listen to God and say "no" and ignore a world screams "MORE!"
Maybe reading this isn't what you expected for Thanksgiving. It wasn't what I expected! Yet it was just what I needed. For that, I am more thankful than I can say.
What about you? What are you thankful for today? What's gone under the radar that deserves an attitude of praise, starting today?