Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful Much?

(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?


Candace Jean July 16 said...

This is awesome, Stacy. (read: "she's human!!") I'm feeling exactly the same way.

If you have time for some tears, read this if you haven't already:

I couldn't even do a decent Thanksgiving post after reading it.

Blessings and grace to you this Thanksgiving. I am truly grateful for your blog.

Gabrielle Eden said...

I am with you on this. I realize how I must be thankful for the basics, and how I fall into the trap of always thinking of the more I must have.

teamstrand said...

I am thankful for my very BFF.

Alison said...

Fabulous post. It was such a great reminder!

Desiree said...

I've been having those same types of thoughts! And I've actually been realizing how much all that extra has weighed me down (more stuff to clean, put away, store). It's definitely a distraction. And when we can live with what we have, it also allows us to be less judgmental of others and see them more like God does, instead of just picking apart their outfit for example. Not only that, it gives us more energy, and less mental chaos to contend with so we can tend to our inner life. Nice post.

Anonymous said...

I came here from SCL because "all the cool kids" were reading you, and I loved your jelly-belly post. I thought it would be another fun little stop on the daily blog-train.
Who knew I was gonna get convicted in the process?

vanilla said...

Thank you, Stacy, and I wish you always enough.

Mandy@ Mommy Cracked said...

I've been feeling very similar things lately. I think we all get a case of "stuff-itis" around the holidays. I enjoyed reading this (I'm a first timer here) and will be back for more!

Anonymous said...

That was a big fat OUCH! Right there this Christmas season. Thanks for smacking me around a little!

sundog said...

Wow. I say I am thankful, but am I really if all I want is more? Thanks for revealing what the Lord shows you... so it can also be revealed to me.

fb said...

Great post. I, as a shop owner, have really struggled with the same type of thing this year. We ourselves do not have the "wants" so much anymore, but see so much of it in the marketplace. So much excess and so much credit use. Sometimes I feel really guilty putting more on people's credit cards! Don't know as if I am destined to be a shop owner much longer!!

Anonymous said...

Definately not what I expected to read but the things you need to hear usually aren't what you expect. Thanks!!

jujube said...

I'm glad my friend directed me to you. You're FUNNY! Except when you're serious and want to get a point across. Which you just did.

We were thinking the same things pre-Thanksgiving. I wrote something about my half full glass here:

Dog snob said...

Hum...good stuff there Stacy!!

Tasty said...

Amen, sister. Though, I do want to say that I absolutely believe your instinct for "more" is a God-given instinct. My instinct for more is either a blessing or a curse, depending on how I respond to the voice that says, "WHEEEEEEE! MORE!!!" If I pursue more God, unity, love, people, service, and adventure, that honors God. If I choose more self, reservations, fear, or, in my case, food, that doesn't.

When I realize I'm not honoring God, I claim this as part of my personal story (because it is.) James 1.5 and following: If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.

Tori said...

That is exactly me. I'm not reading this post until after Thanksgiving, but I think it applies all year long.