During November, a lot of people do these posts on gratitude. You may think, oh another year, another list of things to be grateful for, blah, blah. What’s the big deal?
Well for me, it helps shift my perspective!
A lot of times I get caught up comparing myself to other moms. I look at my friend’s posts on Instagram and think, they have a better life than me! I love their house, their clothes, their new shoes, their make-up, that great bag! I envy their vacation spots and wish I had their life. You know what’s crazy though? They are probably doing the same thing with my posts!
The Bible talks about gratitude as an attitude of our hearts. Giving thanks for what we have is so important, because it changes our perspective. Did you ever stop to think, you don’t envy people who have less than you, you envy those who have more. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Rejoice always? Pray continually? Give thanks always? Those are some pretty hard words to live out!
Several years ago, I had the privilege to travel to Tijuana, Mexico on a mission’s trip with a group of teens we were leading. One afternoon we traveled up the side of a windy mountain to a village to share the gospel with people who lived there. When I got there, I was shocked at the level of poverty. The people who hosted the trip tried to prepare us, but until you see things up close, in person, it just isn’t real. There was no running water and no bathrooms, it was crazy!
A woman in the village invited us into her home. As part of our team crammed into her tiny one-room house, my heart sank. Her entire family shared this space that was probably the size of our guest bedroom (which isn’t very big). The floors were dirt, the roof was a piece of tin literally held down by tires and the walls were a mud-like mixture. A very thin, dirty mattress laid on the ground with a blanket. Thin pieces of cloth that covered the “windows” waved in the breeze. There were no screens or glass, just openings with this flimsy fabric covering them. A small table sat in one corner that was their kitchen. A pot with some boiling water sat on the tiniest stove-like structure I had ever seen. I don’t know if they had to buy the water or fetch it from a well or spring, because again, there wasn’t running water in the village anywhere.
The woman invited us in with the biggest smile on her face. She wasn’t ashamed of how little she had, she was gratefulfor the Americans who had traveled to her village to share the love of Jesus. I was amazed in the middle of her lack, she was so joyful.
There is no way I could compare her life to mine. Her house fits into my guest room. Her belongings were old and tattered. They had very few clothes, no closet, no dresser, no extra shoes. Her family members didn’t have their own rooms, in fact, they didn’t even have their own beds – they shared one mattress on the ground. There is just no comparison of her life and mine. But if I had to measure her joy and contentment, I bet she had more joy and was more content than I was. It’s not about how much we own, it’s about being grateful for what we do have.
As I sit at my desk today, Starbucks in hand, typing away on my Mac laptop, surrounded by things I love – a scented candle, a gold embossed mug, books, family photos, inspirational quotes, Bibles and journals, I am reminded how good I really have it.
I am healthy. I am loved by God and friends and family. I live in beautiful home and am warm. I am able to do things in my life that I love. I have money in our bank account, more shoes than I need, clothes I never wear and many, many things I take for granted.
I’d encourage you throughout November to look at what you have in life, rather than what you don’t. A change in perspective helps you see how blessed you are. If you dare, take the 30-day challenge and write down at least one thing you are grateful for every day this month. (If you start today, list 2! J)
Leave a comment here on our blog, or take a second to post on Instagram or FB. Take the 30-day challenge! I dare you!
Pam Lozano is the Founder and President of Pure Design Ministries and Teen Magazine. She is a Youth Pastor with her husband at Oasis City Church in Westerville, Ohio. She is a conscientious leader who believes in investing in and mentoring the next generation to raise them up to be who God has designed them to be. Pam loves to write, drink Starbucks with friends and go for long walks.