I've always struggled with discontentment for the here and now. I'm constantly thinking about the next phase of life....wishing it was now. I say things like "If I only had this particular thing for my house....", or "If only I had more time to myself..." or "If the kids were just a little older then....". When you think about it, it's heartbreaking. Because afterall, today's blessings are yesterday's wishes come true. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was happily dreaming of owning a house and having babies?
I also find myself wishing for more things. I want the things that I don't have now and feeling discontent with my current blessings. "If my kitchen was as big and beautiful as hers then...." or "I am bored with my clothes. If only I had this, this and this...". This keeps me in a circular reference of not only discontentment, but also major guilt. Guilt for seeing how much I have, but still acting like an ungrateful child about it. Here's how the snowball rolls for me: It goes from initial thought -- to heart change -- to discontentment -- to bad attitude -- to guilt. It's exhausting and not at all what the Lord wants for me.
I've been feeling the repetitive nudge in recent weeks to practice true Thankfulness. The kind of daily, intentional thankfulness that can change my selfish attitude by 180 degrees. Afterall, if I pursue a life of thankfulness for the present day, it doesn't allow room for discontent. It wipes it out and replaces it with peace and gladness for what I have now. Today. This moment.
I read a daily devotional book called Jesus Calling written by Sarah Young. It pretty much rocks my world every.single.day and challenges me in so many important ways. I read the following paragraph from the excerpt on my birthday, June 22nd, and it says:
"If you persist, your thankful words prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart. Thankfulness awakens you to my [Jesus'] presence, which overshadows all your problems."
That hit me so hard. I want to be awakened to the presence of the Lord. But I can't do that if I'm dwelling in discontentment.
This weekend I decided to buy a Journal. It's going to be my Thankfulness Journal. I'm going to take time each day to write down something I am thankful for, even if all I can muster up that day is being thankful for the next breath. But it's not going to be a book full of wishy washy lists and half-hearted attempts in order to fake it. It's going to be an authentic record of not only what I'm thankful for, but also my deepest darkest prayer requests for the ugly stuff. The stuff that's really in my heart. The stuff I want God to clean up and sanctify. I want to record what God is doing in my life. How hard it is. How fun it is. How scary it is. In 20 years I want to look back and see, in writing, how he pruned away the dead branches in my heart, and cultivated the healthy ones. I want to see my life lived in pursuit of Him. I've never kept a Journal before. So I'm excited to see how it blesses me.
I know my sin nature will always push me toward self-absorption. But there are so many ways to fight against that current. I'm taking the first step with this Journal.
Many of you may have heard of or even read Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I have not read it yet personally but know so many friends who have and have been changed by it. It's a book that challenges you to embrace everyday blessings in the midst of deadlines, drama and daily duties, and let them spiritually transform you. It's on my list to read this year.