After having a rental car for 22 days, I couldn’t have been more excited to get my car back Tuesday! When the guy drove up in it, it was nicer than I remembered, and then when I opened the door, it was also nicer inside than I remembered. I was soooooo excited to have all the ROOM back – and even more excited that this was my car 😍.
And then I thought to myself, “Wow, what a shame to not remember how nice my car is.” Not that it matters if it’s super nice or not anyways, but the fact of the matter is…
We take so much for granted.
In these last few years, I’ve been very careful in making every effort to not take things for granted as I once did. But even so, I’ve somehow still managed to hitch a ride on the caboose of the Ungrateful Train.
It’s so easy to get so caught up in everyday life that we forget exactly where we are and who we are – running errands, shuffling kids, school, work, sports, chores, you name it. Years ago, I was making several trips to “town” per week. I’ve scaled down so much in these last few years that I only go into town one day per week, and if I don’t absolutely have to go, I’m not going! I love my quiet, country house, away from the city. Unfortunately this week, I’ve had to go to town Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and I’ll probably be going today too 😫!
I’m quick to teach my kids about gratefulness, but am I living it? We say that we are thankful and grateful, but are we really? We have a routine every morning that includes making our beds and grooming ourselves. One morning, my oldest decided he was going to complain about having to make his bed and groaned about how much he hated it. My response?
“Ohhhhh I see…. If there is a problem making your bed, I could always just get rid of your bed so that you could sleep on the floor, and then you wouldn’t have a bed to make. How does that sound? I could even go to the extreme of getting you to sleep on a dirt floor like in other countries. I mean, that’s up to you. Then, you wouldn’t have a bed to make. Instead, I’d rather see you thankful that you have a bed.”
I believe that one of the most important character traits we can develop is how to be content in all things. It will leak into every part of our life and surface as gratefulness, thankfulness, and humility.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:11-13
Although we live life today with a whole different perspective than we used to, I was slapped upside the head once again with humility when I got my car back. I could have walked away only proud, but I didn’t. Not only was I reminded of the accomplishment that we completely owned this car from day one without debt, but I was punched with the shame of not remembering how nice it was. How did I not remember?
It’s not like a drive a brand new Mercedes or anything, but that’s not the point.
I was actually pretty thankful for that feeling coming over me, because it puts me right back into perspective. I’d rather be put back into perspective where I should be, than continuing through life with too much pride. Sometimes, we need that. “Pride comes before the fall.” – Proverbs 16:18.
So yesterday, we decided to take Roux for a ride in the car – not something we do too often because she’s wild 😳. But for me, the action of taking Roux for a ride rested upon a feeling of gratefulness. Why wouldn’t I take her for a ride even though she’s nuts? We were just going back to the body shop to pick up a bag that I left there, so I wanted to share the car ride with our dog. She was great actually, besides constantly wanting to squeeze her head right beside me in between my seat and the center console with her wet nose on my arm.
There are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is not getting what you want; the other is getting it. ~George Bernard Shaw, taken from Fresh-Brewed Life
Just take the dog for a ride. Take the kids to the park. Go on a picnic. Take a walk and a breath of fresh air. Visit a friend. Get out from the front of the TV (or unplug it) and play a game with the kids. Do these things, especially when you don’t feel like it. Not because you feel guilty for anything, but because you just need to live life sometimes. None of these things cost money, and going that route will cause us to be a little more creative with our life – plus, it is very needed. It’s needed, in order to fill the gaps that have been lost in the busyness of life, and it’s those very things that are taken for granted.
Like the quote above from George Bernard Shaw, none of these things will bring us a lifetime of happiness, but I do believe that they can bring a release to your soul. We can intentionally live our life in a way that will allow peace to rule, rather than allowing chaos to take over.
God, help me to not take things for granted, to be grateful and content with what I have, and to live life as though tomorrow doesn’t exist. ~Jenn