Do you feel like a pauper or a person of wealth? Do you find yourself on a never-ending treadmill, trying to accumulate all you can in this life? Do you have a roof over your head, food in your pantry and clothes on your back? Do you feel you are in a constant state of comparison with others whom you feel are “better off”?
In an effort to become (more) content, I’ve started a thankfulness journal where I can record my blessings. I believe it to be a simple and excellent way to stay positive and keep a proper perspective. I aim to record only one item per day in an effort to keep my thoughts simple and focused. You’ll find a short list below of what I’ve written thus far. Some entries may seem overly simplified; however, nothing is too simple to record. In order to be truly content, I want to be intentional in thanking God for each and every blessing He’s bestowed upon me.
- I’m thankful to be a Stay-at-Home Mom
- I’m thankful to be both a wife and a mom
- I’m thankful my husband works a “9-5” job allowing us to have dinner as a family every night.
- I’m thankful for the Bible study I recently started attending and that it offers free childcare!
- I’m thankful for a community of Moms I can do life with
- I’m thankful we have 2 paid-for, reliable vehicles
- I’m thankful for a healthy, growing child
- I’m thankful to have money to shop for groceries
- I’m thankful to have a home that’s safe and keeps us dry; staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Living in an age of such affluence, it’s quite easy to get lost in the “comparison trap,” as I call it. Comparing ourselves to the so-called “Jones’,” who supposedly have it all, which is such a lie! You who are well-traveled or have taken a mission trip, already know that in comparison to the rest of the world, we are quite blessed as a nation. Having a car, much less two cars, makes one quite wealthy.
Being caught-up in the trappings of this world will get us nowhere fast. We’ll never, this side of heaven, gain all that we want; it’s a never-ending cycle. When does the roller coaster ride come to a screeching halt? I’m convinced it won’t until we change our perspective.
“Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” (Hebrews 13:5, AMP)
For me, I need to work on holding loosely to the things I possess. After all, it’s only stuff and can’t be taken with me when I leave this earth. Possibly the greatest example of contentment and thankfulness, that I know of, is found in Philippians 4:11-12:
“Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.”
I’m convinced that when we focus on thanking God for all that we do have, our perspective changes for that which we feel we don’t have. If we have clothing, shelter and food, we are indeed rich. Anything over and above that is simply God’s favor and grace. I know I am quick to forget this truth when I take my focus off my God who supplies my every need and look to my neighbor who, in my eyes anyway, has everything I think I need, or even deserve.
“But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God].” (1 Timothy 6:6, AMP)
“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1 Timothy 6:8, AMP)
Won’t you join me in recording your blessings, no matter how small, to remind yourself just how blessed you are? Let’s train our focus on the Giver of every good and perfect gift. I believe it will change both our attitude and perspective so that we can get on to what’s really important in this life.
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].” (James 1:17, AMP)