Monday, December 3, 2007

Giving Thanks

I feel compelled to stop in the midst of this season of plenty, and articulate how much I have to be thankful for. To be sure, there is a lot that overwhelms me about my situation. For those of you wondering, our house is still lingering on the market, at its lowest profitable listing price, and we are still living with Justin's parents. I greatly miss the autonomy of running my own household. Our cars are acting up, one possibly nearing the end of its usefulness. We are in "temporary" housing for the second year of Maren's short life. We all miss our friends from Utah and Michigan.

Yesterday was a low day for me, as I realized anew the length of our commitment to live with Justin's family. We are not just talking until our house sells, but probably for a year beyond that as we save up money we were hoping to see in profit on our house. And that in turn has other implications for our decisions for the next couple of years. Right now it feels like a great weight.

Yesterday was also Sunday, and not so strangely I felt the message at church was tailored exactly to my flood of emotions. It was built around Psalm 73, one of my personal favorites. I'd like to share parts of it here.

As for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff!
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud,
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
They seem to live such a painless life;
their bodies are so healthy and strong.

Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure
and kept myself from doing wrong?
All I get is trouble all day long;
every morning brings me pain...

Maybe you have seen this as you look around. Those who constantly seem to flaunt the natural order, who somehow have it all: beautiful children with colossal birthday parties, expensive houses, shiny new cars, and vacations in the Caribbean. How do they do it? In my own mind I don't even offer a judgment as to whether They are wicked. My personal understanding extends to a more general Others.

It is so simple for me to listen to the whispers in the back of my head, that my life is too out of control and I need to take it back! That whispering voice would have me notice all the Others who seem to have it more together than I, and compare myself unfavorably against them. That same voice would have me be jealous my own friends, by whispering that these Others have a much less complicated life than I do.

So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper...
Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God,
and I thought about the destiny of the wicked...
Their present life is only a dream
that is gone when they awake.

Those perfect people I seem to compare myself to (who don't even really exist in reality, they are just putting up pictures to convince others) are not trading in eternal commodities. The castles they are building for themselves, to impress each other, are not even made of the stuff I am seeking to fill the longing in my heart.

Then I realized how bitter I had become...
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
you are holding my right hand,
You will keep on guiding me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.

I am convinced that the whispering voice is the Enemy, trying to drive me away from God my Rock when I really need to be clinging closer than ever. There is so much truth that can get overlooked when I forget to seek God's perspective on my life!

One truth is that my friends, whose stories differ from mine, are still living through complex and varied situations. Just because I don't view their daily life under a microscope does not mean they don't struggle to get through each day just like I do.

Another truth is, Justin has a job that pays reliably. His company in Utah is all but defunct now, and had we stayed this would have been a lean fall. We are so fortunate to have family near us. We have plenty to eat, more than enough to entertain us, and it's going to be a good Christmas.

And more truth, we are here in Texas going through this challenging transition time because it is where we want to be. While I may find myself feeling uncomfortable, and I may feel out of control, I am here because of decisions I made that I would not change if I could do it again. In the big picture, I am content that we are on the path we want to be on.

God takes care of more than we know to thank him for. I truly feel that he has blessed us out of his glorious riches, much more than we deserve. As I live through my daily life, I sometimes overcome and frequently fall short in confiding my troubles to my Maker. The days I do use my challenges to draw closer to God are the most meaningful days of my life. I truly desire to make every day one of those days.

Lord, help me to come to you every day with my thanks and my needs. Thank you for the plenty in my life, and thank you for my knowledge that you care about the things I want. And more importantly, thank you for my confidence that knowing and being known by you is the only thing I really need in this life.

1 comment:

  1. This was a wonderful blog to read; in part, because you share your heart. The Scripture and message posted, along with your personal thoughts and insight relevantly spoke to me in my current situation and struggles. Your reminders to Give Thanks and to remember the struggles and difficulties of friends and others are noteworthy and timely. Thank you for your thoughts.


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