Galatians 5 (MSG): 22-23 “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
Funny how we think of “blessings” in life. We normally assume them to be monetary in nature, or have something to do with status. Think of how often celebrities cite their “blessings” referring to their personal trainers, exotic vacations and the like. We aren’t far behind in assuming every blessing has to reference a worldly thing. But Jesus turned all that on its head. You can’t determine how your life is going based on where you live, the job you have, and what type of car you drive. If only life were that simple. Instead, Jesus uses a different measuring stick which will change how you conceive of blessings in your life. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, below are some ways to reframe a new understanding of blessing in your life. Is it sometimes painful to measure this in yourself? Of course, it is. But we do things differently around here, and that includes evaluating every aspect of our lives according to Christ’s teachings. Trust me when I say the benefits, as found in the quote in Galatians above, are worth it.
1. Track Your Moods
Has someone complimented you recently on your new lease on life? Or perhaps you didn’t snap at your toddler for throwing their sippy cup at the wall (with a full cup of milk in it). Small moments when you rise above are times when you start to understand how easier life is when you live full of peace. Write down three examples of when you rose above it this past week, and if you can’t think of three–commit to making them happen in the coming weeks. Full disclosure, I couldn’t think of three, or even one. I’ve let the stresses of life fully consume me this week. But that just means I get started on making new moments. Remember, you are already forgiven. You can’t make God love you more, and in my case, that’s a really good thing 😉
2. Revisit Gratitude
Take stock in how grateful you’ve been living in the past few days. Were you quick to complain? Or did you find a reason to rejoice? So often we switch to “pride mode” where we quickly fly to blaming others for things we, ourselves are responsible for. But there are moments when we pause, and really reflect on how very far we’ve come. I’ve recently come around to greatly appreciating my job in a new way. I’ve put aside ambitions for the time being and really tried to enjoy the people I’m around. The result? Shocker, I’m happier at work, and I’m also almost LOOKING FORWARD to being there. If that doesn’t say something about the gift of gratitude I’m not sure what does.
3. Check Your Perspective
Another assessment is to check in with how you view certain situations. This one is great for your married folk. Can you think up a situation where you didn’t fully appreciate where your spouse was coming from? Can you look at that encounter again, in their shoes? This is such a useful tip and so woefully underutilized (by moi, for starters). It’s hugely effective though because the gifts we give our spouse have so much to do with acknowledging how hard they are working in our lives. How do you feel when no one thanks you for dinner? It’s no different with your partner. Try and look for ways where you can change your perspective on a certain behavior or incident.
Hopefully, these tips help reframe blessings in your life, and just in time for turkey day. Let’s just say there will be PLENTY of opportunities to mirror a Christ-like attitude when you gather around that table. Good luck!