Have y'all ever seen the movie It's a Wonderful Life? It's my all time favorite movie, but I understand that my love for old black and white films isn't a popular love, so I will forgive you if you've tried watching it only to fall asleep!
Far too often in life I find myself relating to the main character, George Bailey. Despite his many blessings, George finds himself envying the lives and positions of other people. He takes for granted the way God uses him to bless others and the ways that his community has blessed him.
I don't want to have to tell y'all this, but I've been doing much of the same lately. It really is humiliating to admit that I struggle majorly with envy, but I do. I think George had it easier than me, easier than all of us really, because he didn't have social media! I can't imagine how much more complicated that story line would've been if good ol' George had been able to compare his life to his 600 online friends! (Maybe I can sell that plot to Hallmark for a Christmas remake!)
I've done a pretty good job of kidding myself about social media. I ooze out lies to myself like, "I don't spend too much time on there", or "I'm only researching for the blog!", but those words simply aren't true. I'm wasting precious minutes of my life on social media and it's doing more harm than good.
I'm not saying that social media is evil or I think everyone should just quit it now, but God has brought this issue to my attention in my own life and to not address it would be disobedient, not to mention harmful.
I want out of the rat race where I never feel like I have enough or I am enough because those feelings, those lies, come straight to me from the enemy. As a follower of Christ, I should be satisfied if, like Job, I lose everything. If I lost everything, I would still be a chosen daughter of Christ and because of that fact alone, I should live a life overflowing with gratitude.
However, I have, to date, not lost all the blessings God had given me. I don't have all the things I envy, but honestly I am going to be praying that I don't get those things. I am ashamed that I neglected gratitude and embraced jealousy. I want to drown in gratitude. I want to dwell daily on the many, MANY generous blessing He has given me on Earth, because it really is a wonderful life!
George Bailey is brought to his senses through the help of Clarence the angel, but I don't want to wait around on drastic means to have some sense knocked into me. I want to do it now, when Christ has placed it on my heart.
How am I going to cultivate gratefulness? I don't have a 5 point plan, I am just going to lay down my jealous heart every morning and ask that God would make me jealous for the right things, for the things He is jealous over, for kingdom things, for eternal things. Oh how I long to become attached to things eternal.
Today, I am going to swim in gratefulness. Most people reflect on their past year at the beginning of January or the end of December, but I like to do that around my birthday. Seems better fitting to me. Especially this year, when I seem to be battling a less than grateful heart more than ever, I think it's important to count my blessings: our marriage, my husband, our family, my friends, my mini-van (yes, mini-van), our home, our health, our church community, our jobs, our neighbors, hot water and hot coffee in the mornings, central heat and air, running water, healthy food, unhealthy but really yummy food, calling the safe and beautiful city of Knoxville home, and the list goes on....
God gets all the glory. I try to tell people as often as I can that if there is anything you like about me, that's all Jesus. If there is anything about me that you find obnoxious or downright unlikable, that's all me. This is true for our blessings too. The Word tells us that every good gift is from our Father (James 1:17), not due to our own efforts. So the glory goes to Him.
Even if the blessings I just listed, and the many others that I didn't, were to be gone by the time I posted this, I would still have all that I need, because I have Christ. Or, rather, He has me. In the palm of His hand, He holds me in His book, He has written my name, in His bottle He catches my tears, and when I go home, He will have me forever.
I want to mean it when I sing the lyrics, "you can have all this world, just give me Jesus." Will you help hold me accountable to cultivating a grateful heart?