Evidence of my sweet children was strewn everywhere—Legos and stuffed animals and countless mismatched socks and shoes and that lost tantrum-inducing sippy cup that was merely hidden under the hundred Kleenexes my daughter pulled out. I was supposed to be writing in my gratitude journal, but instead, I was overwhelmed by the state of my “blessings.”
So much stuff. So much mess. And so many people have nothing—not even basic needs—and I am drowning in excess. Lord, how can this be? Why weren’t we better stewards of our financial resources? We need to do better.
Before I really got to the point of beating myself up, I looked up and saw the little dollar sign on our wall. “In all things. . . GIVE THANKS.” In all things. Even right now, in the midst of my guilt.
Do you need a gratitude adjustment?
While I wholeheartedly believe in giving thanks for every blessing—seen or unseen—I wonder if our focus on the worldly is clouding our minds from all that we have to give thanks for spiritually.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18 –
What if our gratitude lists weren’t filled with a single thing we owned but instead blessings from above? What would that look like?
For me, on that day of mess and overwhelm, it would have looked like this:
- Conviction over overspending
- Peace in the midst of a panic attack
- Hope for a new day
- Strength when I have nothing left to give (thank you, sick children)
- Joy even in the midst of pain
These are the gifts that no one can take from us, and they are available to everyone.
When we publicly give thanks for excess, it can come off as look-at-me-and-what-I-have-done. Thankfulness should come from a place of (or at the very least, lead us to) humility.
If our gratitude lists are not leading us to that place of humility, maybe it’s time for us to reevaluate what we have been counting. Is our excess really something to give thanks for? Or is it a result of worldly pursuits and pride?
I can’t answer that question for you, but I know for me, these questions are transforming how I think about thanksgiving and my heart on the matter.
For it truly is—like all things—the heart behind the thanksgiving that tells all.
Maybe that red Starbuck’s cup that made its way onto your gratitude list, not because you’re superficial. But because it reminds you of the gift of friendship and the amazing life-giving conversations you have had while sipping on your favorite beverage.
What’s on your intangible thankful list, friend?
Keep loving well!