We Are Not Missing Out

I was scrolling my social media feeds the other day and I noticed one of my friends went on a trip. Another was out to dinner. Still another, at the movies.

I exhaled, stomach drawn in with that familiar sinking feeling.

My mind searched for the last time we went on a trip. I couldn’t remember dinner at an actual restaurant without kids. And the movies? Nope. As I thought of my own adventures over the past few months, I started to wonder if maybe summer really hasn’t been all that great.

Wait a minute! This is ridiculous! Just stop.

The struggle is real. As I see what others are doing, I’m tempted to compare and measure and see where I stand. And in the middle of my jealousy, my own beautiful life begins to look bleak and unsatisfying.

Lord forgive us!

Comparison is a sneaky thief, always trying to steal what’s right in front of us. And it’s always followed closely by the temptation to let jealousy and envy move into our hearts and bring all their toxicity.

Not today, friends.

Instead, let’s take a really good look at our own camera roll and see these beautiful moments right in our hands! It would be a shame to trade them for the shadow of someone else’s Instagram posts.

In this process of letting go of my measuring stick and embracing my own life, I am discovering something amazing: when I truly see the good things that God has given to me, other people’s good things are easier to celebrate!

It’s actually quite a gift.

God is so good! And everything good in our lives is because of Him! We are not missing out. And the amazing thing is, He’s not just blessing those people over there, He’s blessing us too in a million big and little ways. Our hearts need the clarity to recognize His goodness and respond in the only way we can – with a life of worship.

hymn 40

From the old red hymnal

I Need a Do-Over

Saturday, 8pm.

I need a do-over.

The last half of this day didn’t exactly go as I was hoping. Things just kept coming up that weren’t in the plan, you know? Conflict. Cranky baby. Crazy kids. And then, the broken sink.

Feels like the past 12 hours were a total write-off! My heart is heavy tonight and I am struggling to remember if there was, in fact, anything good about this day. It’s easy to let times like this make me feel like a failure.

Then I remember Grover’s bad day.

Once I was reading a Sesame Street book to the kids about Grover having a bad day. Everything went wrong for him. He was late for playgroup, he forgot his lunch and the other monsters wouldn’t let him play football! And after school, he dropped his ice cream on the ground.

When he got home, his mom asked him how his day was and he just crumpled into her lap and told her all the things that had gone wrong. Then she said something that stuck with me: “Don’t let a bad day make you feel bad about yourself.”

How easy is it to take a tough day and turn it into a test of our competence? Those feelings of failure can seep into our hearts, making it difficult to be thankful for the things we have right in front of us. Whenever I feel like this I remember something my husband came up with about a year ago. I was having a similar kind of moment where all I wanted to do was grumble with a capital G every day all day long. It was becoming a pattern for me – a default attitude that needed to go.

“What can I do?” I asked.

“How about this: every day, find two different ways to worship God, help someone, and write down twenty things to be thankful for,” he suggested. “And each day’s list has to be different than the day before.”

“Twenty things!?” I raised an eyebrow. It was a good idea, but I was skeptical.

The first two parts came easily – the worshipping and the helping. And then, the list. I thought, There’s no way I can write down twenty things to be thankful for! But I’ll try.

Numbers one through five were the regular things you thank God for – family, shelter, provision and such. As the list grew, I began to dig a bit deeper into the things that I had in my life to be grateful for. The higher I counted, the more my attitude shifted. By number twenty, I was thanking the Lord for the difficult day itself, because I realized days like this really help me grow in ways I can’t even see at the time.

Back to Saturday night. Was there anything in this day to be thankful for? Of course there was!

A visit to the store with our cutie pie kids!

Lunch and lively conversation with friends.

A teenage niece who likes to babysit our girls so we could enjoy said lunch kid-free (besides the baby)!

Hearing our girls playing together with such incredible imagination and creativity.

Baby smiles and chatter that literally melted my heart and filled me with joy.

And my husband! Hearts-for-eyes for that guy, I’ll tell you! Just all the things about him!

Well, I think I just found my do-over.

 ***

Count your blessings

Name them one by one

Count your many blessings

See what God has done!

leaves and shoes