“No matter how bad you think you have it, somebody always has it worse.” I’ve heard and used that phrase countless times in my life, when I felt down and frustrated about my problems. While there is some truth to that statement, I decided to stop using it as a trampoline to snap me back into walking in a spirit of gratitude.
Earlier this year I heard a message preached at church that really helped me change my perspective. To paraphrase, the pastor said that he used to feel so much more grateful for what God had given him after returning home from mission trips to third world countries. He’d say things like, “Oh, those people have so little, yet they still praise God. We are so blessed to have all of these amenities and don’t praise God enough for them.” He’d be excited for a while, giving thanks for everything all day, everyday – until things got comfortable for him again.
This really resonated with me because I know I’ve done the same thing at times! You volunteer at a homeless shelter or donate some clothes to a needy family and poof! Gratitude abounds. But when lean times come around, that excitement and attitude of gratitude starts to fade.
At the heart of his message, he said that expressing our gratitude should not come from measuring what we have against what others do not. In order to truly be grateful, we have to stop (literally stop) and reflect back on our own lives and remember what God has done specifically for us in the past. Recalling those things to our memory – times when we were broke yet the bills still got paid, times when we were hungry and food appeared on the table, times when we were sick and our bodies were healed – is the easiest, simplest, happiest way stay grateful (everyday).
Furthermore, whenever we feel our faith slipping while we wait for God to answer our prayers, remembering what He’s already done in our lives is the best way to amplify our trust. Comparing ourselves to others is the quickest way for trust and faith to evaporate.
Now, whenever I start to feel my mind wandering to a place of thinking that what I have in front of me isn’t enough, I remember how far God has brought me in my life, instead of considering how much more He’s given me than someone else. When we operate from a place lack as a mindset, the truth is that we’ll never have enough. We’ll always want more – a bigger house, a better job, and more money in the bank. I am committing to staying content with what I have and seeing my world through the lens of abundance instead of lack.
I believe that this is especially important as a person with big dreams. It’s important to dream big, but on the way to achieving them, we have to stay grateful for every high and low along the way. It’s the only way to fully experience true joy and humility when our dreams our finally realized.
BMWK family, as the holiday season falls upon us, let’s remember to stay grateful, not for all things, but in all things.
BMWK, what are you grateful for?