Lately, I’ve been struggling with being content with my blessings (read: overflowing cup of grace). I’m used to having just one more hurdle, yet another obstacle, and some more unforeseen challenges to get through before I could breathe easy about a plan, an opportunity or change. I’m used to the prize being visible but forever out of reach like a mirage of water in a sweltering desert. I’m used to not getting what I truly want and learning to appreciate what I get. That’s been my life.
How would I act if I got what I wanted? If my most earnest prayer was answered? Would I remember that I had asked to be blessed and embrace the responsibility of receiving God’s favor and grace with wisdom and gratitude? Or would I lose sight of the blessing and treat God’s favor as a common unremarkable thing?
I would like to say without a doubt that recognizing my blessings and receiving them with contented appreciation is natural for me. But what I’ve come to realize in this season of abundance is that contentment requires as much hard work and focus as perseverance in hardship. It’s easy to lose sight of a blessing – you’ve already received it and can look for new challenges. But who forgets the weight of the world when it’s pressing down upon them? No one. Focusing on our difficulties is what comes naturally, but when we are consumed with thoughts and anxiety about what we don’t have, we are robbed of appreciation for what we do have.
This week the thought crossed my mind: What would I do if this blessed situation was a difficult problem? Immediately, strategic plans for fixing the problem came to mind. There is always something to DO to eliminate a problem. But what does one do with a blessing? The most obvious answer is: Enjoy it and share it. But that doesn’t sound much like DOING anything. Here lies my problem.
I don’t have an established behavioral pattern for when things go really well in my life. The closest situation I can think of is writing and publishing my own books. That’s great, yes, but when do I enjoy finishing a book? I haven’t. Marketing, promoting and selling the book then becomes the focus. And even in the midst of that cycle, my mind is planning and outlining the next book project. Same scenario in my job-that-pays-the-bills. Every year, I get praised for putting on a great annual conference. And every year I smile and tell the praisers, “Thanks… until next time!” I’m already thinking about what didn’t go so well and how to improve it next time.
I know you’re thinking – WOW, what a problem to have! But what this tells me is that I have a deficit of gratitude and thanksgiving my heart and spirit. I should be able to appreciate and honor completion (conclusion; fulfillment). I should fully experience something coming to fruition (realization of something desired or worked for; accomplishment)in my life. It shouldn’t be an afterthought to honor a process that bears fruit (come to a satisfactory conclusion) on my journey. It’s nonsensical to labor over a plant and ignore it when it blooms. That’s essentially what I have been doing – ignoring my blooms.
My Dear Heavenly Father has been blessing me enormously. I am grateful and I have given repeated and profuse thanks, but I haven’t paused to rest, enjoy or soak in all that He has done for me. I want to reach out to my Lord as much, if not more, when the blessings are raining down as I do when it’s hard to even hope for a favorable outcome. I have never just sat and marinated in a blessing. That changes now. Going forward, I’m taking the time to rest in and fully experience my blessings. For the first time in years, I am actually planning a vacation to just stay home and enjoy my life.
What I’ve learned in this season is that there is a time to simply sit and enjoy the fruit or your labor.