Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Highlight Reel... Trying to Learn Gratefulness.

Have you ever looked through someone's profile picture album on Facebook? We all put our best pictures there, don't you think? You'll see picture after picture of smiling, laughing happy people. Sometimes they'll be in exotic locations, or they'll be at fun parties with friends- maybe they're doing a handstand, or they're wearing a Triathalon participants shirt. If they're married it's almost guaranteed that there will be a number of wedding photos, and if they have kids there are probably a couple pictures of them pregnant, as well as with their sweet little children.

Now. Have you ever seen a romantic comedy? There's almost always that part of the movie when Joe and Sally have gotten together and they are obviously quite happy. To show us how happy they are we see a montage of happy scenes - them walking in the park hand in hand, Sally stuffing an ice cream cone in Joe's face which makes them both laugh. A shot of them making dinner together- Joe feeds Sally a taste of marinara sauce from the spoon, which of course starts a steamy make out scene.

My third example is Pinterest. Yup- just all of Pinterest. Everything on there is the best idea you've ever heard of when it comes to crafts, cooking, baking, cleaning, organization.... you name it. It's on there.

I like to call these things the Highlight Reel. There is nothing wrong with the highlight reel. There is nothing wrong with seeing other people happy and doing well and crafting up a storm.... until it makes you start to question what you have, and what you do.

Dang, I want to go to Machu Pichu. I wish I had more friends that I could hang out with. Shoot, I really should be more active. I wish I had a boyfriend. Man, I want to be pregnant SO badly.....

They look so happy. Maybe we should get a dog- I bet we would go for more walks. We never make dinner together like that. Look how steamy their sex life is......

Ugh, I wish I made my own bread. I really should start making my own granola bars instead of buying them. Oh right. As if my pantry could EVER be that organized....

When we become dissatisfied with what we have, we tend to forget to be grateful for things we have been blessed with. It can start out as just a thought here and there about how we wished our house was bigger or had better plumbing, but then breed into a bitterness that consumes our thoughts. Suddenly, every time you stub your toe it's that stupid baseboard that sticks out from the corner's fault, (not your clumsiness.) Each creek in the floorboards rises up an anger in you, and your admiration of someone else's open concept living room and kitchen comes off as complaining about what you have rather than complimenting your friend.

You may even become convinced that everyone else is thinking what you are thinking and feel like you have to make excuses for why you haven't bought a new home yet- or at the very least let them know every chance you get how great your desire is to get out of dodge. To be content in such a crappy house is an absurd thought, and you certainly don't want people to think you're crazy.

I wonder though, if it wold be so crazy to find contentment in all situations. I am not saying that we can't admire the blessings that others have received, but I do know that I could do a little better in appreciating my own blessings and gifts, and stop coveting what others have. I desire to have a heart of gratefulness that is not determined by my own circumstances, but instead a testament to who gave me all that I have. If I feel like I am waiting for God to open a new door for me- I want to praise him in the hallway, and when a storm comes along in my life, I want to praise Him through it, knowing that no matter where I am in my life, He is always the same. I know that it is so much harder to be thankful and praise God for what we have in hard times, which is why it is SO important to be grateful for the little things now- to train our hearts in these quiet, seemingly small moments.

I want to catch each highlight in my life and embrace it fully. Drinking it in, and letting it saturate my heart. I want to thank Jesus for giving me that moment and for the the reminder that my highlight reel is miles and miles long. You couldn't fit my montage in the entirety of a feature film, let alone the 2 minute flash of scenes we see in the movies.

I mean, really- who needs Machu Pichu when they have a husband who rubs their back and kisses her forehead sweetly before bed after a long day?

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  1. Found your blog from your comment on Carmen's Life Blessons. Glad I did! You're right - when we're thinking about what we don't have, it's easy to forget to be grateful for what we do have! Whew!

    1. Hi Ugena,

      How wonderful! Don't you just love Carmen? She's such an inspiration for me and my blog. Thanks for stopping by - so glad to have you :)

  2. So beautifully stated!
    I learned years ago that not being content was an effort in futility. I read in the Bible about being content regardless of circumstances, so I asked God to make that a reality in my life. He's such a gentleman, so He did. :-)
    I love Pinterest! But, it doesn't make me ungrateful or discontent. It's like window shopping for me. I can window shop and pretend that I'm in possession of whatever I fancy and still be happy when I don't have to dust it or mop it or clean it or iron it, but I have it in my memory. Is that crazy? :-) After all, the anticipation of planning and obtaining is 99% of the fun. Immediately after obtaining, the depreciation begins! But, if I never obtain, it's almost like having that new car appreciation forever.
    I don't think men get that women can window shop without wanting it all. ;-)

    1. Thanks for the encouragement LaVon - I feel the same way about Pinterest. I am happy to "window shop" but also very happy with what God has provided for me!

  3. I am so appreciative for your thoughts on gratitude. I have been challenged in this area and do not want to ever take for granted all that a day brings with so many blessings. I appreciate your thoughts on how what we see, read and enjoy can create a discontent in us, instead of an opportunity to be grateful. How subtle and almost justifiable at times. Thanks for reminding me of the choice I have every day to be grateful.