I came across something I wrote in 2013. It was posted on my first blog named whenheavenspeaks. Many years later, and it still rings true.
I have noticed that much of my conversations lately have centered around contentment. It seems folks, me included are hungry for this valued treasure. When you consider the uncertainty of the times we are living in, it makes sense. A lot is being stripped away, and restrictions are forcing people to go back to basics. To look inward, reflect and reinvent.
Contentment does not fall from the sky. It is learned. A home-grown, heart led, word guided conviction that fosters the belief that even in the leanest season, contentment is possible. It requires room, and a certain heart posture to unpack and make a daily reality. It’s a continued effort, and one I know full well I need to dig into. I’ll be sure to share my learnings along the way.
In the meantime, I’ll re-share my almost decade old musings (spelling errors, poor syntax, convoluted sentences, and all), to remind us of the feel of free gratitude expends. It is after all a door way to contentment.
I had an impromptu but much needed chill date with my darling AO a couple weeks back. We both had a long work day, and as a result, we were determined to do anything that required the least amount of energy. So, we decided to order in, sip on cold water (because we were too lazy to do an LCBO run) and watch movies. But alas, the Rogers movie channel wasn’t having it, and presented us an awfully poor selection of not-so-great movies…sigh. Eventually, we gave up and AO kept her finger busy flipping through channels and stumbled upon a program on OWN called “Life Story Project”. At first glance, we were like ‘erm no, cheesy…. NEXT. But somehow, I guess AO’s finger got tired, our search ended on channel OWN.
I just love how God always finds the most interesting ways to get His point across to me. Short of writing in the sky, which would be pretty cool, He’s always talking, and I hear Him so clearly… when I’m not distracted.
So back to the show. The host randomly selects/invites folks to seat with him/her on the purple chair to have a chat. The topic of conversation that day just so happen to be “Jealousy and gratitude.” As much as I did not want to watch the show, I found myself drawn to the people, their stories and the wisdom in their words. I had been talking to God days before about jealousy, how I knew it was not a fruit of His spirit, and not wanting it. However, those moments kindda creep up on me; moments where I get a jealous streak, and find myself going down the not so pleasant lane of the one-woman pity party, themed why not me/why can’t I/why not now?
The host asked a simple question, what are you grateful for? And that got me thinking. If I focused on all the things, I am grateful for, wouldn’t that translate to less time spent stewing in jealousy, lusting over the ‘stuff’ others have? Hmmm.
On Tuesday I was at my hairdressers, and I decided to entertain myself by reading magazines. Once again, I stumbled upon the O magazine…. eerily timely. I was about to drop the magazine when I came across an article that was pretty much an interview with Dr. Brene Brown. Prior to this, I had never heard of her. The article was super long, and I was in no mood for that, so I skimmed through instead. My eyes caught a response Dr. Brown gave to one of the many questions asked by Oprah. It said, One of the things that happens in a scarcity culture is that we are all so busy chasing the extraordinary that we forget to stop and be grateful for the ordinary. And then she went on to say, Capacity to experience joy requires actively practicing gratitude. I had a light bulb moment! Actually, it was more like a siren moment, because many light bulbs went off at once! Needless to say, I read the article from beginning to end (okay, truth be told, I still skipped a few blocks here and there).
What blows my mind is that a one-time conversation with God, led to a series of answers in unlikely places, over the course of a month! What an awesome Father I have.
There is always something to complain about. Oh, this traffic is pure hell! Well, how about someone across the world, or even in the same city who just lost a child, or just got raped, or just got diagnosed with cancer, or is on the verge of bankruptcy? In truth, on a scale of 0 – 10, your experience of hell (being stick in traffic as annoying as it is) is negative nothing compared to the listed examples. While sitting in that “hellish” traffic, you could be grateful that you have a car, or that you can put gas in the car, or that you have a home to go to, with warm food to eat and a comfortable bed to sleep on. You could be grateful that you are alive to see another day, that you are in good health, that you can jam to the music on the radio! I mean so much to be grateful for if we just paused!
I have made up my mind to lean harder into moments of joy (another comment made by Dr. Brown), and I wake up every day ready to practice gratitude!
My first thought as I open my eyes is dear Father, I am grateful for this new day.
What are you grateful for?