Posted By Jennie Chancey on November 25, 2010
My dear friend Kelly over at Generation Cedar wrote a wonderful post about gratitude yesterday, and her words spurred me to reflect on my own lack of thankfulness:
“I wake up every day with a simple choice to make….give back my life in thankfulness, or with complaining take.”
I got mad at my computer today because it was too slow, froze up and generally acted like it wasn’t my friend. Mad at my COMPUTER.
The machine that lets me tell a friend who lives on the other side of the world a piece of information in under 12 seconds; a few hundred years ago it would be weeks (and some serious effort) to send a message to a neighboring state.
This machine that gives me any information I want in a matter of seconds. I remember a time where one needed to drive, in a car, to the library, to read about something, look up a phone number in one of those paper phone books, or go to a music store to buy a song they wanted.
Isn’t it interesting how our entitlement mentality increases in direct proportion to how many privileges we have in life?
You can read Kelly’s entire post HERE.
I’m looking at gratitude from a new viewpoint this Thanksgiving, as illness has me on bed rest and quarantined until this weekend. I’ve never missed a single family Thanksgiving back as long as I can remember, so this day marks a first. I’ve had a lot of time to think while waiting out this illness. I’m not a lie-a-bed kind of person, so I spent the first few days of this prescribed rest chafing over all the things probably going undone or needing attention beyond my bedroom door.
“I sure hope they remember to pre-treat those stains before starting up the washer…”
“Is the kitchen floor as sticky as I imagine it is?”
I knew my husband was directing the children to do their chores, take care of the laundry pile, eat, etc. But still I fretted. We had planned a pre-Thanksgiving dinner for some special friends, and I’d had the menu planned out…only now I couldn’t prepare the food.
“I wonder if I gave the turkey enough time to thaw?”
“Did I remember to buy cream cheese? Oh, dear….”
My unflappable husband asked me for my recipes, brined the turkey, then recruited children to peel potatoes, smash garlic, and beat together pumpkin pie ingredients. I could hear the sounds of industry from the kitchen, but still I wondered if the dishwasher had been run or if the laundry had been switched from washer to dryer. I took another dose of medicine and dozed off, hoping for the best.
A couple of hours later, my oldest son stepped into the room to tell me dinner smelled “SOOOOO good” that he “could hardly stand it.” I told him I couldn’t smell anything, so he gave me a mouth-watering word picture of what was in the oven, what was on the counter, and what was chilling in the fridge. Then he gave me a shorthand list of who was doing what chores and how much fun they’d had helping Daddy in the kitchen. I smiled and told him I was so proud of them all.
And then I realized the depths of my ingratitude. All that fretting and inward fussing had been such a waste. Instead of thanking God for my husband and children, I’d worried that they wouldn’t do things the way I would. Instead of thanking God that I don’t have a serious illness that keeps me permanently in bed, I lay regretting the few days I’ll lose with this short illness. Instead of taking this down-time to pray for my family and thank God for each member, I’ve simply mumbled out a few petitions for swift healing so I could get out of here. Me, me, me.
Sometimes God just has to bring us face to face with ourselves so we remember we are dust (Psalm 103:14). It is all too easy to become “self”-sufficient and convince ourselves that we really are running the show. But we have absolutely nothing that we haven’t been given by Christ (I Corinthians 4:7). I don’t give myself health. I don’t give myself the ability to work hard. I don’t give myself a loving husband or the blessing of children. Oh, sure, there are things I do that contribute directly and indirectly to all of those–but even those things are only possible because of other gifts: the air I breathe; lungs that function properly; eyes that see; arms that can lift, hold, and embrace; and so much more. I think the only thing I can truly say I give myself is too much credit.
So this Thanksgiving Day, I’m thanking the Lord for perspective. Thank you, God, for reminding me that I am dust; that my frame is not indestructible. Thank you for showing me Your faithfulness through my husband and children. Thank you for giving me the gift of rest — and showing me I must submit my soul to it rather than just my body. Most of all, thank You that You came to this dusty speck of a planet and put on flesh so that You (King of the Universe!) could “sympathize with [my] weaknesses” (Hebrews 4:15). God, give me a heart filled to the brim with thanksgiving.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
~ Psalm 103:11-18