Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thankfulness and Perspective ... here and there

God has been teaching me so much about thankfulness and perspective over that past several months.  I have made some tangible progress too!  But I have quite a ways to go too.  One day last week, the morning after the first snow of the season, I was outside scraping my car before heading to work.  When I first got to my car, there was a woman nearby scraping off her car and complaining about how cold it was, and then I saw a man next to me, cussing and letting out some frustration about the ice and snow on his windshield.  But for some reason, I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.  Now, don't get me wrong ... it was COLD!  The snow and ice were very obnoxious and inconvenient.  But I was thankful.  Freezing temperatures, an early morning for a not so early bird, and a good amount of inconvenience.  You know it was the Holy Spirit at work in me!  Haha!  But I can genuinely say I was thankful.  I was thankful that I had a car to scrape off.  I was thankful I had a car with a heater that works.  I was thankful for gloves and a hat and a coat and a car scraper (with a brush!).  I was thankful I had a job and a reliable car to get me there.  I was thankful for a cozy, warm, and cute apartment to live in with my beautiful husband.  I was thankful for a godly, loving family and a wonderful church family.  I was thankful for Jesus. ... Do you see where I'm going with this?  One thought of thankfulness lead to another ... so much so that I was CRYING on my way to work!  Haha!  I was just overwhelmed ... thanking God and praying for people who don't have all of the same wonderful blessings.  Thankfulness really does change everything.  When we're thankful, we are way more likely to have and maintain an eternal perspective.  We begin to see people and circumstances with the eyes of Jesus, with all patience and understanding and compassion.  I wanna see life with those eyes, don't you?

Now, I do need to tell you ... so that you don't think I'm some super Christian ('cause you think that, right? Ha! Riiigghht ... ;)) ... At our apartment complex, we don't have washers and dryers in the apartments.  We have a laundry room in the clubhouse at the end of the complex.  So Monday night, we had a huge pile of laundry to do.  So we had to pack up our car with 4 loads of laundry and drive it down to the end of the complex ... in the cold ... on one of our only nights to relax ... using $12 in quarters ... in the cold (did I mention that already?).  And then one of the dryers stole $1.50 of our quarters without drying our clothes.  And I could only scrounge up $1.25 in quarters from my wallet.  So I had to drive across the street to a gas station to trade for quarters ... in the cold ... at 10:00 at night ... you get the picture. ... I'm sure you've guessed by now that my heart was not thankful, and my perspective was not godly.  I was a huge grumpy face!  I even said, "I wish it wasn't so hard to be thankful in this situation, but I just can't think of anything to be thankful for!"  When there was so much to be thankful for!  If nothing else, I had CLOTHES to get dirty!  I had money to pay for the laundry.  I had a cozy, heated apartment to live in. ... So, yeah.  I am SLOWLY growing in thankfulness, which in turn, helps me grow in my eternal perspective.  But it is still fairly hit and miss.  But I am growing!  And that is exciting!

Just this morning, Darrell's car wouldn't start - dead battery.  And I had to take him to work.  Then get to my job.  He was struggling to be thankful ... that's a nice way of putting it. ;)  And I was grateful that I could be patient and understanding and thankful when he could not.  It's such a blessing when one of us can be strong when the other is weak.  He does it for me all the time, so I was thankful I could be that for him.  And I just feel thankful today ... thankful that we have another car to use today ... thankful that we have the money to replace the battery in his car ... thankful that we both have good jobs ... thankful for each other ... thankful for the Holy Spirit, who works in our lives. :)

It's definitely imperfect progress ... but it's progress.
God is faithful.  Keep striving to be thankful, y'all! :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More Like Jesus

I've been thinking about resolutions lately.  Ya know ... 'cause 2013 is almost over, and 2014 is just around the bend.  Wow, isn't that crazy?!  Life really IS a vapor! ....... I was thinking, recently, about what resolutions I want to set out to tackle this next year.  But I got to thinking ... why make a bunch of resolutions that I'm just gonna end up forgetting about or giving up on in a couple of weeks?  Now, I don't wanna be Miss Negativity, and I don't have anything against New Year's Resolutions.  Actually, I think they're great!  But to be honest, I've never followed through with a New Year's Resolution in my life.  Mostly 'cause I, #1 - make too many resolutions to keep up with, and #2 - my expectations are too high.

As I grow in my relationship with Jesus more and more, I am learning that becoming more like Jesus is what God is most concerned about ... and becoming more like Jesus is really the key to a resolute life.  Resolute means "firmly resolved or determined; set in purpose or opinion."  And isn't that what making New Year's Resolutions is all about?  We wanna be determined to accomplish a set purpose.  "I'm gonna lose 30 pounds this year!"  "I'm gonna read through my entire Bible this year!"  "I'm gonna stop drinking soda this year!"  "I'm gonna get a gym membership and workout everyday this year!" ... All of these are great purposes (or goals ... or resolutions), but what about living a purposeful life in Christ? :)

I definitely wanna try to lose some weight this year - I've gained 30 pounds since I've been married. :(
I definitely wanna try to take better care of my body this year by eating more veggies and exercising consistently and cutting back on the sweet tea and carbs and sweet treats.
I definitely wanna try to be more intentional in my relationships - sending encouragement cards and praying for others more often and just simply being available.

I guess those could be my New Year's Resolutions ... but really?  I just wanna be more like Jesus. :)

And the more I think about it, resolutions are good ... they really are.  But I don't wanna get so caught up in my resolutions that I forget to LIVE a resolute life.  I wanna be determined to be more like Jesus this year.  I want becoming more and more like Jesus to be my set purpose.  I want to accomplish THAT.  If that's all I accomplish this year, then guess what?  I've succeeded. :)  And really, the more like Jesus we become, the more everything else falls into place.  Sure, it'll take time.  But as I become more like Jesus and gain His perspective, I will be more motivated to take care of my body, and I will be more others-centered.  And those are my goals (resolutions) for this year.

What purpose do you want to determine to accomplish this year? :)