Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Swirling thoughts of thankfulness

This is a thinking post. But since thinking posts are boring to look at, I've thrown in a few pictures I took today. They have no relevance to the topic. =)
One of the many things I love about my job (the book reviewing) are the books that I chose to review because they aren't my typical genre of choice. Often my dislike or indifference is confirmed. But occasionally a book stands out from the crowd and takes me by surprise. It's what keeps me stepping out of my comfort zone again and again. Yesterday I finished just such a book.
Combine this with the Bible study book we've been going through (which I've been dying to talk about, but wanted to finish first), my children's sense of entitlement and my own thoughts and feelings and you have one whopper of a tornado going on inside my head.

A couple of days ago I started reading a book I'd been putting off. It didn't look terrible. It just wasn't my typical genre and I was a bit hesitant to wade in after a previous bout of boredom with a "out of my comfort zone" book. The parts that grabbed me and made me think are probably not even what the author considered major sticking points. But they certainly stuck with me.
I grew up incredibly poor. I had an outhouse for several years, slept with frost on my covers in the winter, ate the same meal for supper all winter - poor. We were way below the poverty level and didn't receive any form of government assistance. So we weren't even getting the typical handouts that a poverty level child might expect to receive. Fast forward several (ok, quite a few) years and I am now in the position to offer my two children so much more. And the mommy part of me wants so desperately to give them everything their little hearts desire. I don't ever want them to suffer some of the things (emotional or physical) that I had to go through. But I've been noticing an alarming trend of entitlement. I've been talking with my husband, reading books and blog posts and wondering how/why this came about. They know about the books I've been reading, about the Joy Dare. They give of their own money to help those less fortunate and are ever mindful of how little other people have. So what gives?!
"I've been in your country (USA). People there have for the most part exactly the kind of life you're suggesting God owes every human being. A roof overhead. Electricity and running water. Plenty of food and clothes. Education. A car, maybe even two. Freedom from constant fear and war. And yet can you honestly say having so much as made all the people in your country smarter, better, harder-working, more caring human beings than the rest of the planet?" . . . "Problem is, prosperity can also spawn arrogance, entitlement, laziness. So when we get our way in making life easier for the next generation, we also discover they don't have the strength, resourcefulness, ingenuity that were the products of hardship in our own lives. in trying to make life easier for others, we can end up simply crippling them as human beings."
Congo Dawn - Jeanette Windle

One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations. 
Saint John of Avila

Giving thanks for what is, creates an appetite for more-not for more things, but for seeking more of God to give more glory.
One Thousand Gifts - Ann Voskamp

To fully live - to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal. It is possible, wildly.
One Thousand Gifts - Ann Voskamp

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way os that I may show him the salvation of God.
Psalm 50:23

It's in the thanksgiving. And in the thanksgiving we realize how wonderfully blessed we are!
It's in a life of service. When helping others blesses ourselves even more.
It's in a life full of love and blessings. Not in a life full of material things.

It's time for a cleaning out and a mind change in our home. I'm pretty sure that some, if not all, of us are going to suffer a bit for this. But the temporary pain will be worth the end result.
So let the cleaning of both home and heart begin!

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