I’ve had a pretty crappy couple of days. My car is in another money-sucking crisis and I’m in a sucked out of money state. Meanwhile I am generally ticked off with anyone and anything having to do with my car, so needless to say my attitude, like my days has been pretty crappy. Herein lies my predicament. I am a card-carrying, extremely vocal Christian. So when I’m having a crappy day compounded by a crappy attitude, I’m really giving Christianity a bad name. Some times it’s easy to feel justified in the crapitude, but the reality of the situation is that no matter what – IT AIN’T THAT BAD!
You know it’s bad when you’re so foul that you start to smell your own funk – emotionally speaking. Well that’s where I was. Everyone is entitiled experience a bad feeling, a disappointment, sadness and even anger, but wallowing in the mire of negativity is counterproductive. So I did a word search on giving thanks in www.biblegateway.org. I was looking for James 1:3, but I wanted to make sure I quoted it perfectly…instead, I found this:
My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. Hebrews 12:27
and if that weren’t enough, there’s this:
I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:10
You get the idea. I could go on, but I think I’ll stop and take a minute to share what I take for granted:
That I’ll wake up in the morning.
That I’ll have running water and indoor plumbing
That I’ll have electricity
That I have a family who genuinely loves and cares for me
That I have friends who are concerned and praying for me
That I am able to work in a job that brings me joy and allows me to exercise the gifts that God has called and gifted me to use.
That I have beautiful neices and nephews who show me unconditional, unbounding love and acceptance.
That I am healthy.
That I am a child of Christ and as such, He wants what’s best for me. He doesn’t want me to suffer any more than you want your child to suffer, but sometimes the only way to learn that something is hot and will hurt you is to let you find out for yourself. That’s what God’s letting me do right now. I can have the attitude of “poor me,” but the reality is that I’ve known there was a problem with my car since June. I could have been putting money away to take care of it, but I didn’t. I could have had the air suspension converted to a conventional shock system, but I didn’t want to do that – I wanted the BEST. So now I’m suffering. Not because God wanted me to suffer, but I needed to learn that the fire was hot. I’m stubborn. I can’t take your word for it that I’m gonna get burned, I’ve got to prove the point myself.
That brings me to another thing that I take for granted – God’s patience with my insolence. So today, I am feeling thankful. My car is still broken. I’ve been inconvenienced in my daily activities and in my pocketbook. I’ve been an inconvenience to my friends and family, yet still – I am thankful. I am thankful that God loves me enough to allow me to learn from my mistakes. I am thankful that my family and friends are there for me to help out even when my problems are of my own making. I am thankful for my sister, who loves me enough to kick me in the rear – and rightfully so, while at the same time being compassionate and helpful.
I love having a car. I love the independence it provides me. But that’s another thing I take for granted. I don’t need a car, really. What I NEED is to remember the blessings that God pours out over me regardless of my perception of them. What I NEED is to be thankful for all the things and people that I HAVE in my life. What I NEED is a good swift kick in the glutteal region. What I NEED is to be thankful that I have people who love me enough to strap on their boots and prepare to pugilize my posterior. The funny thing is, for all that I NEED, I really lack nothing. God is good. His love is complete and fulfilling. That’s something I don’t want to take for granted.